The other afternoon we jumped into the car and you said:
“Mom, look what I found today.”
I am never surprised to hear something like that from you, what does surprise me- is what you found. Two days ago, you’d brought me a rusty screw, bolt, and washer.
“Wha- why do you have this?” I said.
To which you replied “I found it.” Very matter-of-factly. (aka duh mom, what kind of question is that?)
We had a good talk about tetanus shots and rusty screws and telling an adult or leaving things where you found them. Then I threw the screw and its friends away.
You? You’re an explorer. A wonderer.
You like to seek, find, question, and look closely at all things.
So when you opened your palm to show me this:
“What the heck is that?” is really the kindest thing that I could muster up because in my brain I said “Good Lord, what animal’s poop is that?”
“It’s a gall.” You said proudly.
Hmmm a goll?? I thought.
“And what is a goll?”
“It’s a thing that grows on trees to help them when they are not doing well.”
“Aaaand who told you that?”
“My teacher.” ? You beamed as I looked in the rear view mirror.
I had a brief flashback of our guided nature hike at MOSI and I remember her talking about trees having canker or somethingortheother and immediately I knew that your gall was disgusting.
I spent every red light reading up on this gall.
“OK Google. What is a tree goll?” I asked.
Google quickly let me know that a tree gall is an abnormal growth that occurs on tree leaves, twigs, or branches.
Abnormal? Oh hell naw.
Next red light, I dove in.
“There are 1,500 species of gall producers, the majority of which are insects and mites.”
INSECTS. AND. MITES Y’ALL!!!
“The psyllids remain inside the galls until they emerge as adults in late summer to early fall.”
PSYLLIDS IN MY CAR. IN MY KID’S HAND.
Lord help my soul.
“Um, Pea. Did you know that galls g-a-l-l can be formed by insects? That sometimes they feed in there or lay eggs in there and there could be larvae in there?”
“Oh.” You said.
I think you knew very well where this conversation was going.
“No, I didn’t know that mom.” You said.
“Yeah. So there could be future bugs in this gall” I said “and bugs don’t belong in our home or our car.”
“But what if they’re ladybugs?” You said.
And then I almost lost it.
Cause, yes, ladybugs are beautiful creatures. That live OUTSIDE and belong OUTSIDE.
This is why I love you. Because that fact doesn’t even matter one bit to you.
“Well, listen kid. I think you should read this article.”
I handed you my phone and you got to read all about mites and larvae and psyllids and mites and feeding inside of galls and- blech!
I think I made your day by doing that because you were able to learn so much about the rock-looking thing that you found on campus at school.
I giggled to myself as I thought my kid.
Picking up mites and larvae and shit.
If you’re not a scientist-researcher-astronaut-botanist-explorer-oceanographer-zoologist…SOMETHING with an -ist when you grew up, I’ll have had you pegged all wrong.
Speaking of ists, we learned that the study of plant galls is a career that you can pursue and it is called cecidology (Thank you, Wikipedia). So maybe you’ll be a person who does that (are they called cecidologists? I don’t know).
So after we talked about the potential for bugs to hatch out of the gall, we agreed (or more like Mommy said) that we should get rid of it.
“I think it’s awesome that you found this lovely gall, Pea…” (I really don’t) “but how about we just take a picture of it and then release it back to mother nature? Outside. Where it belongs.”
“Okay.” You said.
No fuss. No muss.
Love that about you too. Sometimes your logical side kicks in. Or maybe it’s your “my mom is going into absolute freakout mode and I’m not interested in that, so I’ll just do what she says” side.
Whichever it is, I appreciate it.
So here’s to that one time you found this awesome, poop looking gall on the ground and thought to bring it in and show it to mom.
May this potentially fuel your future career choices, my little genius.
Keep exploring. And I’ll keep taking photos of your explorations and encouraging you to get rid of it after. ?
I love you,