You See, I Am the Butterfly

Our first four butterflies hatched beautifully within the first few days of having them.

I waited until Scarlet came home from camp and invited her best friend/best friend’s mom to join us. We had been waiting for a sunny, warm day. I hadn’t expected the rush I got watching that first one take off from Ella’s (Scarlet’s best friend) outstretched hand, and then swirl into a gold and black vision against the trees. The other three followed suit – and one from my own hand. I sort of wanted to cry, but I didn’t. It’s amazing how often that happens. And when I cry, I CRY.

I don’t think I’m a pretty crier either, although I’ve been told I am. I never will be because I can’t breathe when I cry.

And that’s the reason I’m afraid of most things. What if I can’t breathe if it happens? What if I can’t breathe at the dentist? Or on a roller coaster? With a stomach virus? During a speech? In a deep kiss? Actually, that’s the best kind of not-breathing.

Then there’s the worst.

The thing is, I had to euthanize a butterfly today, and it takes my breath away in the worst way.

The fifth butterfly hatched, probably around the fifth day. It was the smallest chrysalis, but probably the prettiest. Scarlet was here when it started, and she hadn’t seen the other four hatch in her own butterfly garden. This butterfly struggled. I helped, as gently as I could, by pulling off pieces of chrysalis that seemed to be suffocating the butterfly and keeping it down. I was trying hard not to touch her and I think I succeeded, but her “birth” (rebirth?) seemed to take forever. She was born late in the day – and didn’t get the luxury of drying her wings against the sun. When we woke up today, I thought she was dead. Then she moved and tried to open her wings. They’re withered and small, but they’re wings. They’re her wings.

I wanted to see what she could do. I read up about what to do, and everyone had the same wisdom – don’t let her suffer for hours or days. Put her to “sleep” in a low temp, and she’ll pass away gently in her sleep. Gentle wings, gentle soul.

I’m so sorry. I’m so, so sorry. I would have given you every fighting chance.

*********************************************************************************************************************************************************

I didn’t expect to have my breath taken away by the first butterflies in flight, and I didn’t expect to have it sucked back in the worst way with this last, weaker butterfly. Kristi from “Finish the Sentence Friday” is asking us to talk about the August things right now. The topic this week is “It’s August, and I can’t believe..” and here’s a post I wrote four years ago:

Don’t make me say goodbye to summer just yet.

A year ago this week, I had a crippling nightmare. I dreamed it was December. Christmas time. It was dark at 4:45 pm and I had the trace of a winter sniffle – Desmond’s cheeks were red and raw. I felt like I couldn’t breathe, like a school bus was on my chest. And in typical dream form, a school bus was actually on my chest! Don’t you love dreams?

And then I woke up, and I looked out the window and it was August. And you know what I’m talking about – August has a particular look, a particular sound, a particular smell and a particular feel. There’s probably even a taste in there somewhere. I was afraid of the cold and darkness. I thought they would go through my skin to my heart. I thought winter would make me cold and dark. It’s not what happened. It’s been a wonderful year. In many ways. These kids. These friends.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

For the most part, I truly believe my default setting is of joy. That doesn’t mean the chill doesn’t get in and stay anywhere from two minutes to two years. I started writing this last week when I had a dark few days. And now that I’m continuing these August thoughts, I don’t feel the darkness as much, if at all. This year was filled with just as much, if not more, of the pitfalls of living and loving – sickness, financial trouble, deaths, frustrations, excruciatingly low self-esteem.

There is no such thing as immunity. Not if you love, and you love so much.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

I used to get crazy butterflies when nervous as a kid. I can feel short of breath or very nauseous when nervous as an adult.

I shudder to think that the stress reactions could get worse and worse, but I do believe we can fight it by adding more items to our toolbelts. I do believe I can get stronger and more able to effectively manage the hard times. I do believe that just as the depths of sadness can exist, so can the heights of ecstasy. There is always a lower, sure. And there is always a higher.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Last week when the fall air came in at night and people went back-to-school crazy, I felt it – that hint of doubt in my strength. The fear of December, which by the way, I do always enjoy while it’s happening in all of its festive frenzy. I think I just started mourning the loss of summer before it really ended. I feel steady ground more often these days – and that’s no metaphor. I mean my anxiety used to make me feel a little off-balance. I feel sturdier right now. I feel full right now. I feel in motion. I feel connected. Just a step backwards and I fear the worst. I fear I’ll lose it all. I fear I’ll disappear again.

Little by little. There’s just too much good in here. It’s almost too much to handle.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

These are my August things. I fear the chill always, but I feel my inner core has warmed to withstand it more.

This is me linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday or #FTSF. This week’s topic is “It’s August, and I can’t believe.” And there’s still time to write yours. Come link up with your spin on the matter: HERE.

What can’t you believe this August?

Currently, I’m Wearing a Magic School Bus Dress

Which really means that one of my life goals has been unlocked.

Currently, I'm wearing a Magic School Bus Dress and doing a Currently post! What have YOU been up to lately? #oldschoolblogging #personalblogging #bloglife

Speaking of which, I’m sorry I haven’t been around much this week. I know I have done better in the past and throughout this busy summer. We’re at crunch time now, with four more weeks of summer vacation. Yesterday, Des had his five-year-old well checkup (excellent bill of health!) and Scarlet will have hers next week. She only has one more week of camp, and Des “graduates” Safety Village camp today. I mean, really. There will be a graduation ceremony. I can’t forget having one-year-old Des on my lap (in overalls!) at Scarlet’s Safety Village Camp Graduation, and she scowled the whole time! LOOK:

They sort of get better and better.

You can laugh. I did a lot. After camp week, we have a week of craziness and road trips and the kids go to Cape Cod without us. Cassidy and I will be heading to Boston for Comic Con and my $300 ticket to spend time with Tim Curry. That’s the life dream part. The week after that takes us to New Jersey for a belated birthday party with the entire extended family. Then another week of last minute summer stuff, and then Scarlet goes away with her best friend’s family for three nights.

Then, in theory, the construction on our house begins. We’ll have to be displaced from my office and the master bedroom for a long time while we get a new master bedroom/bathroom suite. With doors. With LOCKS. At some point, we’ll be displaced from the whole house while the floors are being redone, but hopefully that will be in October when I’m already in New Jersey anyway. I don’t know what it will be like to set up another office for myself for awhile. I’m busier than ever and I never work with laptops. I have to drag my giant iMac everywhere. Plus, sharing a small full-sized futon in a small room with Cassidy for 2-3 months! Ah, romance. We sleep in even smaller quarters in Cape Cod and we always do well with that.

So I’m sorry I haven’t been as around. I’ve had some interesting career stuff lately. I’ve been doing a side job for a few months now, and I’m not sure why I never announced it? I think I may wait on that because it’s going well and I may be announcing a brand new role soon. It might require some juggling because I’m already busy with mama-ing, photographing, blogging, influencing, and data-entering, but everything I do (except mama-ing) comes in waves and ebbs. And I’m prone to nuttiness forever. Stay tuned, and stick with me, because I’m going nowhere! Or somewhere! But not away from here.

I may just take occasional week-long pauses from personal blog posts, because.. summer.

Now, it’s Currently Time! Feel free to write your own sometime!

Currently, I’m..

Reading: “The Last Anniversary” by Liane Moriarty – hot on the heels of reading Jennifer Weiner’s autobiography.

Planning: I dunno. My editorial schedule? A series of potentially life-altering conference calls. The kids’ Cape Cod Trip next week. Meeting up with some of my favorite blogger friends, like we do every summer. Kindergarten orientation stuff!

Stressing: Honestly, just see above. I also hate my brain every other day, but then I rather like it on the in-between days.

Wishing: I make a lot of wishes, and sometimes they come true 20 years later. True story, if all goes well at Comic Con. Also, I often wish for the stability of my own brain, and the strength and happiness and PEACE of my loved ones. Plus babies.

Feeling: Relatively mellow, considering I’m solo parenting for four nights. And that life is sort of always at the edge of a big cliff, but that doesn’t mean that the fall down will necessarily hurt or not be somehow protected/protective.

Listening: I’ll provide a video! It’s giving me some pretty significant feels.

Eating: (I took this verb from the Happy. Pretty. Sweet. blog) I really need to tell you how satiated I am after what I just ate. Consider that I’m writing this on Thursday night and that I didn’t have a Peanut Butter Cup Sundae from Village Green Ice Cream this morning. There’s ice cream, and then there’s peanut butter cup ice cream. There’s sundaes and then there’s Village Green ice cream sundaes. It’s like they’re all instructed to put magic in those bowls. You can’t imagine.

Wearing: Well, we covered that already, didn’t we??

Loving: Planet dresses. Hot Topic cosplay dresses. Peanut Butter Cup sundaes. Monarch butterflies, clean slates, and fresh possibilities. Cats with perpetual kitten faces, and dogs that act like cats. Chickens that always reply to me when I call to them. How much my family loves me. Spring rolls, chef salads, and breve lattes. (look that up if you don’t know what it is)

And, this shirt!

Hoping: That all of your dreams come true. I think I made that reference before, but maybe in regard to wishes, and not dreams. And it’s actually an Ally Sheedy line from Maid to Order. How’s that for DORK? I mean it, though.

Happy August!