Lauren screamed at me yesterday in such a way that brought me running.
"What’s wrong?" I asked, fully expecting to see amputated limbs.
"Mom, look. There’s ants all over the table."
Sure enough, the table was covered with the kind of tiny sugar ants it almost takes a microscope to see. I assured her that all would be okay. I have chemicals to take care of those kinds of problems.
"Noooooooo!!!!" She looked at me in horror like I’d just morphed into the kind of evil mom that makes her kids eat tofu. "You can’t kill them. They’re so tiny and cute."
Cute? They’re ants! If they were so cute, Ortho wouldn’t make a chemical specifically to annihilate them.
"Lauren, they’re bugs." I pointed out, fully intending to convince her that spraying the entire kitchen with ant killer was really the way to go.
"Please, Mommy. Can’t you just put them outside? They’re not hurting anyone."
It was her pleading tone and those bright blue eyes brimming with tears that made me scoop about twenty sugar ants into my hand and gently place them in the grass where they’d be free to live out the remainder of their short little lives in peace. I’d just have to spray the kitchen later after Lauren had gone to bed.
Then she took my hand and thanked me for saving them."They’re little and cute. Just like me."
And suddenly I got it. For months she’d been teased for being the shortest girl in the second grade. Even though she’s eight, she’s still stuck in a booster chair because her legs don’t quite reach the edge of her seat. And then there was the cashier who just last week asked if she was starting kindergarten this fall.
Through it all, I’ve just kept reminding her that she might be small, but she’s cute and she’s just the size God intended her to be. Just like those ants.
Instead of grabbing the ant killer chemical, I walked through the house with Lauren and saved every ant we found.