I am drawn to butterflies and so are my boys. There is something about them that is just magical. Every time I see one, I can't help but smile. However, them seem to always elude us. I could have a garden full of hundreds of beautiful "butterfly-attracting" flowers, yet, we could go the entire summer not see a single flutter of butterfly wings.
This year, I decided to take matters into my own hands. This year, I ordered caterpillars - Painted Lady caterpillars, to be exact. We watched them grow day, by day in their little cup, complete with caterpillar food. The instructions explained that after about a week they would crawl to the top of the cup, hang upside down, forming the letter "J", before shredding their skin one last time and finally creating their chrysalis. They must do this in the middle of the night, because when we woke up one morning, all 5 caterpillars were in their chrysalis'.
That's fine, I thought. I moved the lid containing the chrysalis' to a nice big habitat to await their emergence as butterflies. We checked them every. single. day. Knowing that the process would take about a week, we were determined to see the final step into the life of a butterfly. Day 7 came. I intently watched them as I ate breakfast in the dim light of morning. Nothing. I went to work and admittedly forgot about them. We had a busy evening and when I did remember, 4 had emerged! I missed it and so did the kids.
That's fine, I thought. We still have 1 left and after all this observation, I deduced that they only emerge during the day. Saturday morning, I was on it. I was not moving from that chair until I saw that butterflies show it's face. I got distracted. I figured, surely, I could step away from it for 15 minutes to grab a quick shower. After all, it was showing no signs of emergence today.
Literally, not 5 minutes into my shower, my youngest comes bursting into the bathroom, excitedly explaining that the butterfly hatched. "Are you serious? Seriously? I have only been gone 5 minutes!", I say. Then he reassures me that it will be okay - they missed it too.
The good news is that they did not completely elude us. We got to watch them flutter about and drink from the watermelon we fed them. After a couple days it was time to set them free. The kids let them go one at a time. It was inspiring to witness them take flight for the first time - dancing and fluttering into the afternoon sun until they disappeared. Freedom.
We somehow seemed to have honed in on the butterfly signal, because the story doesn't end here. The Summer of Butterflies - Part 2, to come.
Have you had something elude you? Feel free to share it in the comments below.