Born to Fly Away
The anticipation was mounting. Our journey set off at Butterfly World a couple weeks prior. My kiddos and I on our weekly nature day with a group of fellow homeschoolers attentively followed our knowledgeable tour guide. Beautiful greenery, botanical sights and scenic sounds aroused our senses. My kiddos were struck by the very nature of the butterflies. My little guy was quite inquisitive. The metamorphosis from creepy crawly to a beautiful butterfly intrigued his intellect. Days turned into a couple of weeks and when the questions didn't cease and the excitement was overflowing, I knew what had to be done. I did exactly what any self-respecting homeschooling mom would do, we started an in-depth study. A time of scientific research of all things butterflies. I wanted the experience to be a hands-on one, so I ordered caterpillars. My little scientists anxiously awaited the arrival of five little caterpillars at our door.
Following much expectancy our creeping and crawling critters arrived. My children as expected were glued to this little jar. We received a jar of five caterpillars but the goal was always vibrant butterflies. Had the caterpillars not entered the full metamorphosis we would deem this journey a failure. It is interesting.... the very thing we hope for may leave us empty. We never got these little guys for them to stay little.
The object of the lesson was growth. Growth came with a cost. The caterpillars would arrive, eat, grow, form the chrysalis and emerge as butterflies. Yet... The processes began. We quickly found ourselves building attachments. Do you see that little guy above? It took him some time. We all came together and admitted we were privately praying for him. How did a science lesson become so sentimental? We were all touched by this little guy. All the other ones were growing so much faster. The starting point was the same. He was timid or apprehensive, whatever it was the others were more aggressive with the food. Would our little guy make it? The struggle was so real! I was not going to get these caterpillars for them to not fulfill their purpose. Flourish little ones flourish. I did not want to disappoint my kids. We watched, we prayed, we documented and awaited metamorphosis. Every morning my children would greet me with a status update. For several days all these critters knew was each other.
What I did expect was the transformation of some bugs. What I had not accounted for was such deep reflection and introspection. How did they know what to do? The bugs just ate and grew. They seemingly instinctively crawled to the top of the jar and became j shaped. This is the last step before the chrysalis. I remember being in labor. I went natural No drugs. Allowing me to feel everything. !No really! EVERYTHING! When it was time to push, I didn't need anyone to tell me I instinctively knew. Something was happening within my body and I began to move with its rhythm. I didn't create this rhythm yet I moved in response to its flow and sound. I knew instinctively to follow along. All of our caterpillars emerged as butterflies. The process was a success. Little eyes marveled at their beauty. The time to release our winged friends as upon us. Somehow parked in front of the nature center no one moved. My daughter started to cry. She didn't want to see them go. She began to explain that she would miss the routine shed grown accustomed to. I thanked her for having the courage to express what we all felt, on some level. After a circle of life talk we gathered ourselves, we exited the vehicle and made our way to set the "captives" free. As cozy and "natural" as we attempted to make our net, it was only ever a temporary habitat. In essence our butterflies were not free in their net. Their freedom cost a price.
What did it cost the butterfly to become a butterfly. What is the price of metamorphosis? Essentially the caterpillar had to die for the butterfly to be born. Pregnancy had to end and pain commence for my children to be born. We always say goodbye to one thing in order to embrace the next. At varying degrees of cost but there is always a cost. When I unzipped the netting each winged creature went their own way. This left me thinking. All they knew was each other. It was a journey they traveled together. Freedom meant they went their own way. Instinctively they will mate and produce eggs and the process will begin anew. We released the butterflies filled with joy and a hint of sorrow. Freedom often includes goodbyes in order to embrace a desired hello. Freedom is outside of the comfort zone. If everything I am meant to be is on the otherside of everyting I know, I am willing to go.