For this author, creative endeavors have been sorely tested by motherhood. But also transformed, and in ways she wouldn’t have imagined – couldn’t have, without her life “rewritten” as it has been, by her children. So linger here, to read all things weaverly, writerly and motherly.


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Saturday, April 21, 2012

S is for the Squelched

S is for squelching.

A squishing actually, of a perfectly innocent bystander.

"Mom, you have to see this really cool bug!" Ryan called.

I was getting them off to school, and he was outside already.

I was inside, trying to galvanize into action his dreamier younger brother who says "I can't" to anything he can do that he doesn't want to, like tying his own sneakers.

We were in the midst of one of those "you can" arguments while he was bopping a withering balloon from his birthday party around the house.

"In a minute," I called to Ryan, the older-let's-face-it-more-responsible brother.

He was out in the driveway, crouched over the spectacular bug. "He's really, really cool. You have to see him."

It was getting late, so I resorted to tying Kenny's shoes myself, but not without a lecture about now that he was seven, he needed to start taking responsibility for himself.

"Sure," he said, and ran outside, forgetting his backpack.

"Mom, you have to see this!" Ryan screeched with great exuberance. The kind I wished he showed toward his homework.

Now they were both crouching in the driveway.

But I'd already turned cranky. I grabbed Kenny's forgotten backpack and was on the verge of another lecture when I went outside to see the bug myself.

He was spectacular. A caterpillar. A beautiful shade of lavender, with handsome black Vs down his back.

And quite enormous.

I went over to a bush for a leaf to scoop him up. "We need to get him out of the driveway so he won't get run over," I said.

And as I was retracing my steps back to the bug with the leaf...I stepped on him.

He was so big, I felt it. The squish. The squelch.

He looked like road kill.

Ryan covered is face and screamed. "Nooooooo! "

He started crying, the bawling of the truly devastated, a quiet crying hiccuping.

I was stunned myself. "I didn't mean to..." I stuttered. My meager words fell meaninglessly. Dropped unheard like the faded white petals drifting down around us from the cherry blossom trees.

My son had covered his face. Ryan can be prone to dramatics, but this was no drama.

I went over to pull him to me. "I'm so sorry."

His face buried in his hands he buried into my stomach. And from deep within the buried levels, I heard his muffled scream: "You KILLED him!"

Kenny got into the car. "Yeah. That was kind a gross. I mean, he was ginormous."

Kenny clearly was consolable. Ryan wasn't. But as much as I could have stood there all day trying to console him, we couldn't be late for school again. They already had too many pink late slips for all the times I've left the lights on in the car for the battery to go dead.

"Ryan, Hon, please get in the car."

"I don't care. I'lll tell them it was your fault. We're late because you killed something!"

I began steering him by an elbow, as he wouldn't take his hands down from his face.

I had to put his seatbelt on for him.

Then it was Kenny, the younger brother, who said quietly, "It was a bug, Ryan."

It was then when Ryan finally took his hands away from his red swollen eyes. "Shut up!"

And it was time to squelch what now actually was turning into a drama. I looked at Ryan in the rearview mirror: "First we don't say shut up. Second, if you're going to get upset over a caterpillar, you should pay more attention to your gerbils who are much higher up on the food chain. And when was the last time you remembered to feed your frog?"

He stopped crying. He stared out the car window. And in a quiet, but perfectly even little whisper said: "You didn't have to step on him."

Did I wish I hadn't stepped on him? Yes. Would I pursue this topic? No.

And good thing too, because as quickly as he had been devastated, he was able to rebound, as some school friend called to him when he saw Ryan getting out of our car.

While Ryan at eight is now more apt to affect some kind of saunter, his hands deep in his pockets, he is also, thankfully, still able to forget himself and break into a skip.

He skipped down the hill to meet his friend, and I went home to hose away the squelched.

Because after school I knew what was coming: "So, mom what did you do with the bug you killed?"




Lynn Proctor said...

oh what a story---i can see it on a series---wonderful!

Paula Martin said...

I bet they'll never let you forget the day you squelched the caterpillar!

Amy Morgan said...

Really enjoyed this one. Amazing the life and death views of our little ones and how their views are formed!

Journaling Woman said...

eww and oh NO.

this is great.


Sue H said...

Ah, the joys of parenthood! I remember days like these - distant memories now, though!

Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier, too! ;-)

Happy A-Z'ing!

SueH I refuse to go quietly!
Twitter - @Librarymaid

Julie Jordan Scott said...

I wish I had a camera to show my face all scrunched up as I read this... ewwwww.... seriously?

I want to go back to my poets & eccentric writers NOW, please! :~)

(See how effective your words were to me!)

Lotsa Word-Love to you!

Julie Jordan Scott
Fellow A to Z Challenge Writer
twitter: @juliejordanscot
S is for Sara Teasdale
On a Mission to Spread Word-Love Throughout the World

November Rain - k~ said...

Did you post this before, I could swear I have already read it. (shakes her head) okay, maybe it's just too soon before the second cup of coffee for me... hehehheh... it was a great post, and something I bet none of you will forget!

Denine Severino Taylor said...

Oh my gosh. Worst feeling when a bug is so big that you feel like you are stepping on a dog. If it makes you feel any better, my son had a stinky box turtle ("Bob") that had to go when Sam entered the group home system. Sam STILL occasionally reminds me that he "misses Bob" and that was 12 years ago. Not easy being a parent :-)

Kathy said...

Oh no, you may never live that one down!!


Jo said...

Yucky! I'm sorry you had to go through that. You'll talk of it for many years, I'm sure.

Debbie McConnell said...

As a mom of 5, I found the humor in this story. Sorry to laugh at your ordeal. But it's amazing how our kiddies, didn't see the part that you were getting a leaf to move it. But it was the you stepping on it that was remembered. Guess it's like eating the last cookie, forget you were the one that made them, hadn't eaten any of the 2 dozen, but oh my goodness "mom, you ate the last cookie" and they give you a look that makes you glad stoning isn't used much any more.

Thanks for dropping by my blog.

Anonymous said...

Yep, this one will live on...and on...and on.

Susan Silver said...

I am guilty of this, and I felt pretty bad about. I was doing laundry at my apartment complex. I passed a snail several times as I was going about my chores. On the last pass through, I stopped on him with a very loud crunch. I was quite sad about the affair.

Joyce Lansky said...

Sorry about your loss. If it makes you feel any better, today I shooed several baby birds out of our garage. Shortly after that, a huge bird of pray snatched one in its claws. :(

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