For birthday month and the 40 Days celebration, I asked my mom to do a guest post. She was skeptical, but finally agreed and sent this along. I held onto it to share with you on Mother’s Day because it’s almost like a bit of my own history. This is the type of strangely creative environment I grew up with… and I’m pretty sure it’s where I developed my love of writing.
It is about 12:45 pm on a September day, and Bug, age 5, and LadyBug, age 3, have had a full morning here at Grandma’s house. They are here during the day quite often, so we have lots of options for things to do. I have managed to keep them busy this day, and have balanced my time between them. We’ve read several books, played with the trucks, explored out in the yard, and watched a little TV. It is now lunchtime. They will be having yogurt, and I am trying to peel and slice up quickly some carrots and celery to round out the meal. As I call them to come to the kitchen island, neither is very happy. They are both tired, hungry and very grouchy. Bug is grousing about having to shut off the TV. LadyBug does what she does when she is hungry or bored… she pokes, heckles, or otherwise gets in her brother’s face. This time, she teases him by hopping onto the stool usually reserved for him at the island. He counters with some screeching back at her, face red and wrinkled with utmost frustration. “That’s MY chair!” Up go his arms to shove her off, but she latches onto the chair back for dear life and proceeds to scream, “NO, NO, I had it first!!”
I am quite rapidly losing control of this dining experience and need to act quickly. I whip off the covers of the yogurt, stick a spoon in each, place them at their spots, and say, in my best retired teacher’s voice, “Hey, how did this yogurt get to be blueberry?”
They stopped short, looked up with expressions that said, “HUH?”, and I forged forward slowly and seriously…
“Once upon a time, there was a blueberry who loved yogurt. He ate it for breakfast. He ate it for lunch, and he ate it for supper. Sometimes he even ate it for snack before bed.”
They start to eat their yogurt. The argument over the chair has reached a cease-fire for the moment. I continue…. dragging it out for emphasis.
“One day, he ran out of yogurt. Imagine how sad he was? So, he jumped off the table, rolled across the floor and out the door. He hopped into his blue car, and off he went to the yogurt store. Once there he bought enough yogurt to fill up his entire refrigerator. He drove home and stuffed it all into his frig. He was bursting with happiness. He LOVED yogurt. He was so excited that he grabbed one yogurt, pulled off the cover, and JUMPED in! And, THAT is how the first blueberry yogurt was made!”
Bug and LadyBug both burst out laughing. They had eaten enough of their own lunch that the grumpiness had gone. They loved the story and asked for more.
And so the Saga of the Blueberry began… No matter when they are here or what the lunch is, Bug, with his incredible memory skills, always says, “Hey, it’s time for our blueberry story.”
I have told many blueberry stories over the past year. We have had stories of the blueberry who wanted to be friends with a raspberry, the blueberry who thought he was an orange, the blueberry who fought off the crows, the blueberry who wanted teeth so he could eat steak, the blueberry who drove a blue car to the blue store to buy only blue food. We even had a blueberry who tried to make chocolate pudding. Some of the stories have morals, and some don’t. The stranger and more incredible the personification of the fruit is, the more the kids seem to love it. My blueberries talk, walk (well, they mostly roll), eat, sing, and even climb trees. I get my inspiration from whatever is happening in our lives. Most of the stories are just plain ridiculous.
I know I’ve created a successful story when LadyBug is so involved, she embellishes the story with some of her own made-up words, like the “pokey-doke blueberry”, and when Bug tips back his head and gives me one of his infectious from-the-gut laughs that make me belly-laugh with him. Sometimes I even send them off to rest time with the task of making up their own story.
It’s been suggested by some that I write down and publish my blueberry stories in a book, complete with illustrations of our special fruit friend. That probably isn’t going to happen. I actually forget most of the stories shortly after they are told. At best, I may create a homemade book, and have the kids illustrate it. Neither version would ever be able to capture the giggles and enjoyment of the time spent with my two delightful grandchildren, all over silly tales of a very small fruit. It is a time I cherish, and hope that, as they grow, they will remember “once upon a blueberry” time.