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Bitten by the Mamma Bug.

Just a little serendipitous story for you.

I have a reader who has been around for a couple years and who leaves a blog comment for me every now and then.

I’m not very good about responding to comments, so I recognize her name and I know who she is, although she may not have realized that.

She may have thought I was ignoring her. I wasn’t. I was reading what she wrote. But rarely responding.

I’m also not a big blog reader.

I don’t know if that’s weird seeing as I write a blog, but that’s just the way I am.

And I do often get emails asking me to check out people’s blogs.

Sometimes I’ll click on the link they share with me, but usually that’s about it.

So this reader told me she started a blog called Mamma Bug Bit Me a while back.

I didn’t check it out until fairly recently.

I’ve been secretly reading. She writes in a way that is really unique.

But I was most intrigued by the pictures in her posts. I thought they were really pretty.

I had no idea where they came from though.

Until I finally realized that she made them herself.

Then not too long ago she sent me an email.

I wrote her back.

That led me to her Instagram.

There were so many picture and paintings there, and I fell in love with them.

To switch gears for a second, my grandma died a couple years ago.

We were very close, and when she died I wrote a letter to Number 7.

Because of all the kids, Number 7 is the one who really won’t have any memories of spending time with her.

I read the letter at my grandma’s memorial service.

And then, because I wanted the whole world to know how I felt about my grandma, I shared the letter here on the blog.

After I shared it, a friend I used to teach with suggested I turn it into a children’s book.

I loved that idea, and I have kept it stored in the back of  my head.

And then I got that email.

And then I found Swati’s Instagram page.

She was the illustrator for my book.

I could  feel it. I knew it.

I sent her a message on Facebook and I asked her if she’d be interested in helping me.

She said yes. Immediately.

I sent her the post.

I said nothing else other than, if you could read this when you have the chance that would be great.

She read it right away and then she told me she’d send me some ideas on Monday.

I got them yesterday.

And I’m in love.

Now I haven’t even spent any time thinking about how I’d turn this post into a book.

But I just have to show this to  you.

Here is an excerpt from the letter I wrote, along with a couple of the illustrations she sent me:

…We will take a walk across the bridge by Great Gma’s house, and look through the little squares in the wire mesh on the sides of the bridge,  and we will watch what is going on in the parking lot of the old factory.

If we are lucky, and we see a bulldozer down there, I will say to you,

“Look at the buggies!”

We will look at each other and open our eyes and our mouths as wide as we can, with pure joy and excitement.

Over a piece of heavy machinery.

Yep.

Rocks and bulldozers.

Your great gma made rocks and bulldozers exciting.

For a little girl.

She was the best.

On the walk back to her house from the bridge, we will look for some Queen Anne’s lace.

We will pick some, and we will take them back to her house.

We will get out some old mason jars and milk bottles, and we’ll fill them with water.

Then, we’ll find the food coloring, and I will let you squeeze a few drops into each jar.

You will feel like a really big girl.

We’ll make the water in one jar red, the water in another jar blue, and the water in another jar green.

We’ll put a Queen Anne’s lace flower in each jar on the dining room table, and then we will wait.

While we wait, we’ll go into the kitchen and have a snack.

I will cut up carrots and put olives on top of them. I’ll tell you they are lollipops.

And you will believe me.

I will slice up apples and put a little bit of salt on them.

(I know. It sounds gross, but it’s actually really yummy).

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I will make you peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but I won’t cut off the crusts.

I will tell you that is where all the vitamins are.

You will believe that too.

Then, we will sit at the table and eat.

And we will drink juice out of old Welch’s jelly jars with pictures of Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd and Sylvester the Cat on the sides.

We will talk.

And laugh.

And when we are done, we will go back into the dining room.

We will look at the Queen Anne’s lace.

And something magical will have happened.

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The flowers will be blue!

And red!

And green!

I cannot even take that second picture. I burst into tears as soon as I saw it. Swati somehow got into my head.

She painted a picture of that memory just as I remembered it, and also exactly what I pictured the illustrations to be like were this letter to ever transform into a book.

It’s very weird. And very awesome.

And I just wanted to share it with you because I’m excited.

And these pictures make me really, really happy.

If you want to see some more pictures that make me happy and that might also make you happy, check out Swati’s Instagram page.

She’s doing the 100 Days Project, too. In fact, she’s the reason I decided to try it myself.

But every day I find myself checking Instagram to see what her latest picture is.

Today’s was great.

So was yesterday’s.

And the day before that.

And the day before that…

She’s been one of my biggest fans for a long time.

And now I’m one of hers.

And I think we are going to make a really, really, really good team.

Please keep voting!

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