We pulled a plastic case from the fireplace mantle, our special home for three Monarch butterfly eggs we’d received from a friend. The pencil-tip sized eggs stuck to each milkweed leaf, the Monarch mother’s way of keeping her babies out of harm’s way. We studied each one, all of us wondering how we might best take care of them.
When the first caterpillar emerged, we squinted to see its tiny green body traveling throughout its home. My oldest named her Monna, and they all rushed outside, eager to gather fresh milkweed from our neighbor’s yard. “Don’t run with the scissors!” I called. Monna doubled, tripled, quadrupled in size, eating larger holes into her favored leaves.
Days passed but the remaining eggs remain unhatched. Tears filled my son’s eyes as I shared that the others hadn’t made it. His gift was the naming of the second caterpillar, but only Monna had survived. His eyes finally dried when he found a pencil-tipped egg hidden beneath a leaf outside, a new chance at caring for what could be his own. We moved Monna to a mason jar filled with twigs and welcomed his new friend into our home.
Outside, we spotted an orange and black butterfly gliding across the yard and over the bushes, the sun shining through its stained glass wings. “Can you believe a butterfly like that comes from something so small?” I pondered, just loud enough for little ears to hear. “Can you believe God made that?”
One night, I noticed my son’s eyes looked brighter against the backdrop of sky and silky white clouds. Tossing a blanket over our front yard, I placed the baby on my lap and watched as my daughter learned to roller skate, up and down the sidewalk. My attention drifted from the preternaturally blue sky to my children’s play and back again. How did it manage to look like Lake Michigan in the summertime and my childhood-favorite cerulean all at once?
“The sky!” I called to my oldest on roller skates. “Which cloud is your favorite?”
Without looking up, she motioned, “The one shaped like a cat!”
“God made that!” I called, as she skated away.
Before the sky grew dark, the clouds tore apart, like God was pulling wisps of cotton from a cotton ball.
We moved Monna to a butterfly cage. We recorded her climb to the top, her curl into a “J,” the weaving of her chrysalis. We watched and waited as her green covering shook slightly, to ward off predators, to keep her fragile body safe. We guessed when she might emerge, how big she might be.
One morning, her chrysalis grew darker with each passing minute and we could see her eyes glowing through the thin shell. My daughter gasped from the other room, “She’s out!” We gathered around the netting to marvel at Monna, her shriveled wings still wet from transfiguration.
Soon it was time to let her go. We brought her to the edge of our yard, threw grapes in the bushes, and watched as she fluttered inside the cage, desiring the sky.
“There she goes! I know it’s hard to say goodbye.” The wind took our butterfly higher until her stained glass wings disappeared behind our neighbor’s trees.
“Do you see him?” I want to say, as I imagine sitting my kids down with crayons, paper, and endless time. “Do you see him as he cares for Monarch’s eggs, caterpillars, and the color of the sky? God chose the color of your eyes. Do you see him as he cares for you and for me? Do you see that his creation is good? Here, let me show you.”
In the busy-ness of each day, most of these words don’t make it out. Something simpler replaces them, a catechism of sorts borne from a young mother’s frazzled mind and honest worship: “Can you believe God made that? It’s all from him. Isn’t that amazing?”
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