I didn’t mean to do it. My son wanted to order the butterfly kit, so we could watch them transform from crawling caterpillars to delicate butterflies. I loved this idea. Butterflies are my spirit animal and the thought of being able to rear them to adulthood and watch this beautiful transition thorough life would be inspiring.
Unfortunately, I knew things might be going bad when I came home and my son had already found the box in our mailbox.
“The butterflies arrived today, Mommy. I got them out of the mailbox.”
“Great,” I answered as I put my bags down. “Let’s take a look.”
“I already took them out and put them in the habitat. I made sure to give them plenty of food.” At this point, I was confused. The one thing I knew about these butterflies was that the caterpillars lived for three weeks in their plastic container that had all the food they needed at the bottom.
When I walked into the kitchen it looked like a crime scene. One caterpillar had escaped from the plastic cup and was crawling to the edge. It was so tiny, but its back end did not look right. The plastic spoon Jonah had used to scoop them out was also sitting there. The other caterpillars had been transferred to the netted butterfly habitat. The brown “food” was strewn all over the bottom.
“Oh, okay, baby. Well, I think we need to get them back into their container. They live there until they turn into a chrysalis,” I said as I started try and scoop up the one that was on the run.
“Oh,” he said simply, not realizing the mass genocide he created. I was not sure how many caterpillars we were supposed to have because it seemed that some were buried under the taupe colored food. I did my best to get them back in, and I tried not to cover any, but so many of them were really tiny.
I am not sure how many of them I lost that day, but each subsequent day brought the death of one more.
Today was the last one. The largest of the survivors was curled up at the bottom of the cup this morning. He did not move when I tipped the container. His lifeless body slide into yesterday’s corpse.
I am trying not to think about the fact that the precursors to my spirit animal have all died on my watch. I am really trying not to internalize what kind of a sign this may be from the Universe. So this morning I went online and ordered another container of caterpillars to try again.
Perhaps it will go better this second time around…