When I was growing up, there were many times when I came into the kitchen for a drink of water on a summer day, and you would say, “Oh, you brought along a friend.” You taught me to gently cup my hand over the Lady Bug on my arm or my neck or my shirt, walk back outside and free it near a rose bush or on the branch of a tree. “Lady Bug, Lady Bug, fly away home…”
Last week, Jim and I hired a tree service to do some major work around our house in Colorado. They removed infected trees, trimmed others, planted a slow-growing pine in place of a diseased tree they’d removed. The arborist pointed out aphids in our two huge maple trees in front of the house. You would like him, Mom; instead of spraying the trees to treat the problem, he sent us to a nursery for two bags of Lady Bugs. 4,000 hungry little red friends who were starving for aphids.
That night after sunset, Jim and I opened the mesh bags in the cross sections of the maples. They swarmed out and immediately trailed up the branches like soldiers marching into battle. Some fell on us, crawling on our arms, flying around our faces. I loved it, and just as you taught me, I carefully released each one on the tree branch. It was a magical evening, reminding me of my childhood, and I decided I could be very happy being a part-time Lady Bug releaser!
In Dostoevsky’s novel, THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV, the main character says this in the final chapter: “There is nothing nobler, stronger, healthier and more helpful in life than a good remembrance, particularly a remembrance from childhood. A beautiful, holy memory preserved from childhood can be the single most important thing in our development.”
Dostoevsky never knew Lady Bugs in Kansas, never saw you smile as you helped me carefully transport them back outside, and he never knew of the hundreds of good memories I have of growing up with you and Dad as my parents. But I remember, and yes, those memories have made a profound difference in my life. Thank you, Mom.