The worm is not a pet and no, he can't come inside

Lisa R. Howeler, copyright 2017

The rain clouds had turned the sky dark an hour and a half ago and a shower rushed through and dampened the ground. Still, we soldiered on and decided to plant some seeds in our garden space.

Miss G wasn't interested in planting, but she did enjoy digging. 

I can still hear the little gasp she made when I found the first worm. She's already fascinated with ants and roly polies and any insects that makes its way across the sidewalk.

The other day Miss G looked at me and said she saw a roly polie but now he was gone.

"Oh no," I said. "Where is he?"

Her expression became very serious, but not sad, and in a strict, matter of fact tone she said "he's dead."

I said, "dead? Are you sure? Sometimes they just flip over on their backs and can't get up again."

"No," she said, a little firmer this time. "He's dead."

My heart ached a little that already at 2 she understands that a bug not moving means he is indeed dead.

But on this day she had a new fascination. Worms.

I started it, I guess. 

"Oh! Look at this worm! He's huge!" I said that day.

And so we looked at him. And then we put him on her wooden spoon I'd let her use for digging. 

"I want to keep him," she told me, holding the spoon with the worm on it. "I want to take him inside with me."

"No. Honey, he would be happier out here in the dirt. The dirt is his home."

"No. He come inside with me. In the house."

"Honey, you can't bring a worm in the house. He needs to stay outside with his family. We have pets. Smokey and Pixel are our pets."

Smokey and Pixel are our cats. 

I shouldn't have mentioned the word "pet."

"He can be my pet."

"Honey, I'm afraid Pixel will eat him."

She was indignant and saw right through my attempt.

"Pixel won't eat him! He huge!"

I tried again.

worm by Lisa R. Howeler

"But she might think he's a toy."

She kept looking at the worm and said, "He not a toy! He a worm!"

In the middle of the conversation "he" becomes a "she" and now she's mama worm.

"Mama worm happy here."

"Honey, I don't think she's happy on a wooden spoon."

She places the worm on her plastic slide.

"She happy on the slide. See?"

I point out the worm is crawling off the slide.

"She needs to be in the dirt with her family."

"She happy on the slide."

She thoughtfully pauses while laying the worm on the edge of the plastic slide. 

"I worry about her." She said, her head hanging down a little and her lower lip pushing out.

"I know but she is used to living in the dirt. That's her home. She can take care of herself there."

Lisa R. Howeler

She watched her and moved her a bit. She let out a heavy sigh.

"Bye mama worm."

"Are you going to leave her here? Maybe we should put her back in the garden?"

She carried her back to the garden, set her in a hole and covered her with dirt.

She looked at the dirt a few seconds "bye, mama worm."

She walked away, head hanging down. She ran to me and hugged my legs. 

"I hope mama worm okay," she said.

"She'll be okay. Do you want a popsicle?I think I have grape."

"Pospicle! Yeah!"

Inside with her popsicle she says again "I hope mama worm okay."

She is, honey, but she's lucky to have someone who cares for her as much as I care for you. 

sunlight by Lisa R. Howeler

Lisa Robinson-Howeler

Lisa Howeler Photographer, Athens, PA

I'm a wife, mom, writer and photographer from Northeastern Pennsylvania. I'm a former journalist, which is what my degree is in, and enjoy the freedom of being able to create as a mainly self-taught photographer.