Saturday, April 14, 2012
At a family reunion when I was a little girl, one of my cousins scraped up her knees really badly on a tread mill. I felt horrible for her. I told my grandpa that I wished it'd happened to me. I didn't like seeing my closest cousin in so much pain.
I don't think I'd remember that little story, except that the next day, my grandpa gathered his sons and daughters, and all of us grandkids, around him. He called me up to stand by him, and then used me as an example of Christlike love. I wasn't trying to be Christlike; I was just a kid wishing I could take the pain away from my dearest cousin. I think that kind of love is so innate for young children, and I think because of this experience, I notice it even more. I see this kind of love in them everyday.
Just a few weeks ago, my kids came home from a birthday party with their very own caterpillar. A friend had had a butterfly-themed birthday party, and this caterpillar was her cute and very clever party favor. My kids were extremely excited because we've watched a caterpillar transform into a butterfly before, and they couldn't wait to see it all unfold again. Before long, though, I noticed our caterpillar was coiled up like a roly poly in the corner of the jar, and wasn't moving at all. I told the kids that it had died. They were so sad and sulked around and told all their friends the bad news.
Weeks later, we'd all but forgotten about our deceased caterpillar when we heard a knock at the door. It was that birthday girl, and in her hands was her jar with a cocoon in it. She was all smiles.
"I want you guys to have my butterfly," she said.
My kids were delighted! Another week went by before we saw this special cocoon turn into the most beautiful butterfly. We admired its pretty wings and watched it tinker about in its jar for a few days before deciding it was time. As a family, we stood on the porch and opened the jar.
We waited and waited, but the butterfly wouldn't fly away. Our first butterfly had fluttered right out, so I wondered why this one wasn't doing the same. Will figured it just wasn't ready, and so we took it back inside.
I'm so glad our butterfly didn't fly away that evening because the next day we had lots of kids over to play, one of which was that birthday girl. The kids excitedly went to the jar and showed her how beautiful her butterfly was.
"My butterfly!" she squeeled.
"Should we see if it wants to fly away now that Ava is here?" I asked everyone.
Their reply was all hullabaloo and a resounding, "YES!"
We went to the back step of our yard to set it free, and all the kids politely stood back so she could be the one to open the jar.
She played with her butterfly for what seemed like forever, and it still didn't fly away, so we brought it back inside, and all the kids took a turn holding it. It eventually ended up on the windowsill, so I took the screen out and figured it would fly away when it was ready. It was shaking, and the kids were shaking with excitement at so much hands-on time with a butterfly!
I've always loved it--the way a small, ugly bug can transform into a beautiful creature that can fly away, just like ours eventually did.
And I'll never forget the smile of this sweet red-headed girl who gave us her butterfly. I will be adding this story to the collection I witness everyday of children loving so perfectly. The collection begins with the first one I remember.
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