Off Into the Great, Big World

20140617-223321.jpgWe fed them, we nurtured them, we loved them and, today, we sent them off into the great, big world.

Our little butterflies grew up so quick.

This was my youngest daughter’s first experience in raising butterflies of her own.  She took full responsibility for them – making sure the caterpillars weren’t in direct sunlight and giving them a quiet space to form their chrysalides.  She concocted a special juice to feed them once they transformed into butterflies and she spent time with them every night.  She noticed the way they ate and how each one had a different pattern.  She was surprised by the fact that the first caterpillar to form a chrysalis was not the first one to emerge as a butterfly.  And we were both surprised at how quickly the last caterpillar to form a chrysalis was to turn himself into a beautiful butterfly.  She took pictures of every stage of their transformation and created a photo book to share with her class.  I was surprised to note that she wasn’t interested in naming them and even more surprised by her willingness to set them free.

“I don’t want them to die,” she said.  “They need to fly and be free.”

Of course, she was right but I was stunned all the same.  The same experience was so completely different when I shared it with my oldest daughter several years back.

Like her sister, my oldest daughter was fascinated by the process, but her approach to caring for them was very different.  She began naming them when they were just little caterpillars.  She wanted to touch them and pick bundles of flowers for them to eat.  She picked so many flowers for them that their habitat began to look more like a compost pile than a butterfly home.  She hovered over them and handled them too often.  Every butterfly had a name and she insisted that she could not possibly let them go….ever.  Her experience was so much different than that of her sister’s.


The whole process is amazing, don’t you think?  Five little caterpillars – and two little girls – each attempting the same transformation in their own special way.  I’m fascinated ….. and so happy to have the chance to watch them all venture out into this great, big world.


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