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Fly High, Little Butterfly

 

My girl has always loved butterflies…so much so that we have often affectionately called her the Butterfly Whisperer. Without hardly even trying, she not only can catch the most beautiful butterflies, but she can convince them to stay perched on her finger and even her nose for the longest time. I’m convinced the second they lay eyes on her they know they are loved forever.

Such was the case this past weekend as Emma and her daddy went down to the meadow on a mission to catch the first butterfly of the season. It didn’t take long at all and she gleefully raced home with the most beautiful yellow swallowtail that I have ever seen. For Emma, it truly was love at first sight and all she wanted to do was hold this little creature and gaze at its beauty. However, her joy was short lived and foreshadowed by the fact that she knew she was going to have to eventually let this little creature that had stolen her heart go free.

 

She quickly busied herself by making a temporary home for what was in her mind the newest member of our family. After doing research online, she learned that butterflies eat flowers, overripe fruit and drink water. So off she went to find all of the above to equip the butterflies’ new sanctuary with everything it would need. However, that night just before bed and after having a little talk with daddy, it was decided that it was time to let the butterfly go. So Emma went out on the deck and took the little creature out of her butterfly holder, choked out a goodbye, and raised her finger to release it only to have the craziest thing happen – the butterfly would not leave her finger. Instead, it stayed there contentedly perched for the next 20 minutes. As if we needed this drama to drag out anymore than it already had! Emma was elated that the butterfly didn’t have any intention of leaving, so she lovingly put it back in its cage and decided it would be fun to watch TV together before bed.  Hence, there they sat in the living room all snuggled up together. It was at that point that I began to realize we had a problem. With every passing moment, Emma was getting more and more attached which I knew was going to make the inevitable goodbye even more difficult.

At bedtime, Emma said goodnight to her butterfly and got it all settled into its cozy little cage. As we went upstairs to her room, Emma chattered endlessly about butterflies and realized that we needed to pick out a name. I fumbled around and was at a complete loss because all I could think about was how sad she was going to be letting a newly named and thoroughly loved butterfly go. It didn’t take her long to choose one, however, and she quickly told me that she was going to name her April because that is when she met and fell in love with this sweet butterfly. She cheerfully kissed me good night and laid her head down on her pillow. As we laid there in the dark, I found myself actually wondering if it was even possible to have a pet butterfly. I envisioned us now having to find someone to watch our dog and our butterfly whenever we left town. Just when I thought my girl was starting to drift off, she broke the silence and startled me out of my thoughts by asking me if butterflies pee. Wow, laughingly, I told her that I would have to get back to her on that. (All I can say is thank the Lord for Google.)  Moments later, I kissed her head again and said good night and left her room, but it wasn’t even five minutes later when she came into my room with crocodile tears clouding her big blue eyes.

My heart sunk. I knew exactly why she was there.”Mommy, I love April and don’t want to let her go.” I gave her a big hug and assured her that everything was going to be okay. I told her not to worry about it and that we would figure out something in the morning. I got her all settled back in bed and then went to crawl into my own bed. It wasn’t long before those same crocodile tears filled my eyes. Oh, how I knew all about not wanting to let go. Why, in just a few short weeks my girl will have another birthday and will be in the double digits which only emphasizes how fast time is flying by despite my wish to keep her by my side forever. Okay, I knew I had to pull myself together before my husband came to bed and found me a complete mess over this silly little butterfly that had taken over our hearts. So with a sigh, I took a deep breath and said a little prayer for my sweet little girl in the next room over asking God to hold her precious little heart.

Morning came and Emma marched out of her room with a new resolve and a change of heart. After thinking about it, she realized that it would not be best for April if we kept her. April needed to be free to live her life in her own habitat. So Emma picked up April’s cage and took her in the living room to spend a little time together and then she bravely took her to our driveway as we all gathered around and watched her go. April flew around us as if saying goodbye and then happily flew off. We stood and smiled as we watched her go knowing that everything would be alright and that we would never forget this beautiful little creature that had touched our hearts.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once I saw that Emma was okay and watched her skip away, I had my own little moment because I know someday I will be standing in the same driveway doing the very same thing with my little girl. And although I may have tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat, I will smile and know that it’s going to be okay as she happily flies towards her dreams. So until then I will savor every moment, every butterfly, every colored picture, and every memory that we share together. And when that day comes, I will bravely turn to her and say:

You fly, sweet girl, just like your little butterfly and always know that I am here smiling and cheering you on because no matter where you go you will forever be close to my heart.

 

Oh, one more thing, as I was finishing up writing this blog yesterday, I got a phone call from Emma on her way home from school. She was so excited to talk with me she couldn’t wait until she got home to ask, “Mom, my classmate has a turtle that needs a home. Can we have him?” I will only let you guess my response to that question!!!

FIND YOUR WINGS

It’s only for a moment you are mine to hold
The plans that heaven has for you
Will all too soon unfold
So many different prayers I’ll pray
For all that you might do
But most of all I’ll want to know
You’re walking in the truth
And If I never told you
I want you to know
As I watch you grow

I pray that God would fill your heart with dreams
And that faith gives you the courage
To dare to do great things
I’m here for you whatever this life brings
So let my love give you roots
And help you find your wings

May passion be the wind
That leads you through your days
And may conviction keep you strong
Guide you on your way
May there be many moments
That make your life so sweet
Oh, but more than memories

I pray that God would fill your heart with dreams
And that faith gives you the courage
To dare to do great things
I’m here for you whatever this life brings
So let my love give you roots
And help you find your wings

It’s not living if you don’t reach for the sky
I’ll have tears as you take off
But I’ll cheer as you fly

I pray that God would fill your heart with dreams
And that faith gives you the courage
To dare to do great things
I’m here for you whatever this life brings
So let my love give you roots
And help you find your wings

Written by Mark R. Harris, Tony W. Wood • Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group

 

  • Linda Blass - You have so beautifully captured what everyone must do as we mature. First we are the one who must be confident enough of ourselves to say goodbye. If needed, we need that strong base a little while longer, it will still be there. Then, we must be strong enough to give our children that base.

    As a Christian, like the butterfly we find new life in Christ. We must leave behind some of our habits and more base nature in order to become what God intends us to be.ReplyCancel

  • Leanne Perkins - Paula,

    It’s such a blessing God gives us to be able to translate these events into our personal lives, struggles and victories. My baby will be 16 this year and all the talk around our house now is drivers licenses and college tours…and moving far away from the nest that has nurtured and protected her. Sometimes when I look at my Emma I still see that blonde ringletted little girl old who professed to never want to leave home or me. That image is always broken by the emerging young woman before me and my heart both breaks and soars in that moment. I’m both apprehensive imagining her off on her own away from my watchful eye and excited for her independence and future. I only get through each day, each fear, each wistful longing to be able to start over by the grace of God. Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

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