Not that she's ever seen this side of the "Internets." Grandma told me a story once, about a Mother's Day when my dad was maybe four years old, when his sister came home from grammar school with a fancy class-made Mother's Day present. Dad apparently felt guilty about not having anything to give his mommy, and promptly went into the back garden and dug up some worms. He took them inside and said, in his sweetest voice, "Here, Mommy, I got you a Mother's Day present too." Now, I need to tell you that my grandma is not a lady you'd consider one with a tough constitution. She's, well, I mean this in the nicest sense, a Priss. Not one to get too dirty, my gram; the best one-word adjective I can use to describe her is "lady." What did she do when presented with a handful of worms? She screwed up her courage, stuck her hand out, and took those worms from her Billy boy, and gushed over them just as she had over Mary Anne's gift.
I doubt anyone has ever called me a Lady, and I don't really mind mucking around and getting dirty, but I have a real fear of worms. I don't know when or how it started, but somewhere way back, I developed not just a revulsion to, but an actual (if undiagnosed) phobia of the bastards. They freak me out. If I could control it, I would, believe me. Don't try to rationalize it - I realize I'm not going to be strangled by a nightcrawler. A phobia is defined by Merriam Webster as "an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation." That's exactly what I have. I appreciate worms, and the work they do to break down my kitchen scraps (and everything else), but I'm not going to rescue them out of mud puddles or pick them up and carry them around in my pockets. Ever.
I've been forced, of late, to start facing my fears head-on, like a real grownup.
Tiny Viking developed a fondness for worms in September, when his own very special grandma was visiting and playing in our garden with him. Now, whenever he sees a worm, he calls out in the cutest little voice, "WORRRRMMMM, wORrrmmm!" And, because I am an exceptional parent (cough, cough), I have done my best to not discourage this little (disgusting) habit of his. I even bend over to examine the little wriggly creatures if he notices them in the driveway. I do not want to instill my irrational fears on my children (see how exceptional I am?!). Still, I get the heebie-jeebies every time it happens, I won't lie to you.
Fezzik, at 8, has not developed an aversion to worms either, unfortunately for me. He went out on Tuesday morning to let our chickens out of their coop, and came back into our kitchen with 2 worms in his hand. I took a deep breath and said in my most nonchalant voice, "hey! what'cha got there?"
"Mom, I think I want to start a worm farm."
"Yes. I want to grow worms and sell them."
"Well. That sounds like a very good plan. I have one rule, though. The worms need to stay outside."
"Starting right now."
Lucky for me, he's a very obedient child. He marched his livestock outside and placed him gently in the dirt. Ugh.