Tuesday, October 13, 2009


2 a : removal or lightening of something oppressive, painful, or distressing

Ahh, how things can change in twenty-four hours. Yesterday, I was mentally composing a post that could have been called "fear" or "disappointment." But today the post is "relief" because B's butterfly Artie emerged from his chrysalis today. I was not sure this would happen.

This time yesterday, the chrysalis looked dry, dark and decayed. Just this morning, I admitted to B that I was worried about Artie. Our conversation went something like this (inner thoughts italicized):

Me: "B, I'm a little worried about Artie." (How do I tell her Artie might not live to be a butterfly?)

B, as she climbs up on the stool to get a better look: "I think he's supposed to look that way. You can kind of see his antenna through the chrysalis. I'll ask Mrs. R about it at school today." (What does Mom know anyway? He's FINE.)

Me: "Well, OK." (At least I've planted the seed. Now when nothing happens, maybe she won't be as heartbroken.)

Today was day 15 in the chrysalis and the book we read said 5 to 15 days was a normal time frame. While I didn't come out and say it to B, I was contemplating how long we would let it go before offering to bury tiny Artie in the backyard. I was wondering how to explain that it was time to give up hope.

But when I went in the kitchen shortly after 9 this morning, there was a butterfly perched in its tent, beautiful, fully formed and alive. As usual, B was right to not give up hope and I was too quick to assume the worst.

I debated about whether to entitle this post JOY or RELIEF because both emotions flooded me when I saw Artie hanging there out of his cocoon. RELIEF won out because while I would have been disappointed if Artie hadn't made it, B would have been heartbroken. My immediate impulse was to dash to school, get B dismissed and bring her home to see Artie for herself. Quickly ruling that out, I next contemplated calling and asking to speak with her. I finally ended up going to the school and showing her pictures. She was excited, but she wasn't relieved. You see, she hadn't been worried in the first place.

I'm not sure what the lesson in all of this is. Maybe it's that transitions take longer than I want. Maybe it's that just when I think all is lost, I will emerge as something new. Maybe it's that I should trust the process a little more. B knew that we had done all we could do for Artie. She didn't keep a ticking clock in her head like I did. She just waited for her butterfly to come out. And he did. I couldn't be more relieved - that Artie made it and that my daughter's simple faith was rewarded.


Chris and Tiana said...

Yay for Artie! So glad he made it :) I do miss those days of childhood naivete. Not even just childhood, but even early adulthood. The older I get, the more I expect for bad things to happen. I wish I could recapture that more cheerful outlook on life!

RBM said...

I love this post! What a sweet moment for you to be reminded that hope springs eternal.

Variations On A Theme said...

Isn't it amazing how hopeful and confident they can be??? Makes me think we did something right...now if we can just learn for ourselves...

Anonymous said...

Did you let Artie go?

rufusjt said...

Artie was released into the "wild" after WordGirl took him to B at school! He's a free butterfly!