We all have a picture in our heads of what parenthood will look like. For me it’s in short bursts of moments…moments where I do something special, or even something every-day-ordinary for my children, and they fall perfectly in line my imagination’s idea of their reactions, responses, and of course, their complete overwhelming love and gratitude for me, their wonderful, perfect mom. Yeah right….
My children go to bed around 7:30-8 pm so during the summer, that means the sun is still up. It saddened me that they were never up late enough to see the fireflies (or lightnin’-bugs for anyone who likes to speak in a Southern accent) because let’s face it, fireflies are magic. Some of my best summer memories involve catching fireflies and, with good intentions of making them my bffs and night-lights forever and ever, I of course subjected them to an entire evening of slavery in a jar with some pitiful pieces of grass while their hot and sexy lovers were out there, in the world, hopelessly blinking for them to join in the firefly-orgy-fun. Kids can really be cruel.
Anywho, an evening not too long ago, my kids took a very late nap. Like so late that I had to wake them up to eat dinner…yeah, it was one of those days. They had slept through the bulk of an afternoon picnic up the road at a friend’s house, who just so happens to have a stunning farmhouse on 23 beautiful acres here in Upper Bucks County, and to top it all off, a fantastic swimming pool. Long story short we showed up at the party as the sun was beginning its descent towards the horizon. Thankfully the hostess-with-the-mostess Miss Jenny was OK with our fashionably late arrival, and I’ll be honest, since we are all practically a bunch of albinos, I was OK with not having to dip the children and myself in sunscreen before jumping in the pool.
We swam and had some grub that was left from the bbq fest earlier in the day and meanwhile it got darker and darker outside. The fireflies started to emerge. It was magic hour. My 1 1/2 year old son, Greyson, started to wander through the yard (safe distance from the pool I might add) and I spotted my opportunity. The opportunity to share an incredible moment with my son. I was going to catch a firefly and show it to him, thereby filling his heart and mind with wonder and excitement and awe at this beautiful world. He would surely love me forever because of this exact moment. “He’ll remember this,” I told myself, “he’ll remember this the day he gets in his car and heads to college…how great his mom is…how amazing nature is…today I’ve earned a MOM-WIN!”
I ran like a 10-year old through the yard, squinting and watching, crouching and sneaking until I had one in my midst. I carefully cupped the little wonder in my hands and yelled for my little-guy, “Greyson! Co’mere buddy! I’ve got one!” He wobbled over. I opened up my hands just enough so he could see the little bug flash, once, then twice. I flattened out my palm so he could get a better look. This was it. This was the moment when he experiences his first firefly, and I was the one to show it to him. He reached out in amazement to sweetly touch our new little friend, and then BOOM! With one chubby little baby finger he squished it right there in my palm. Dead. As a doornail. Done. Moment over. Bye-bye bug.
Welp, friends, that ending wasn’t quite what I had in mind. I sighed, and then had to laugh, because you know what? They are all their own little people, with their own ideas and wishes, as poopy as we may think that is sometimes (yes, I said “poopy”). My expectations of this thing called parenthood are usually just figments of my imagination. The reality that Greyson gave me in that moment was the best memory I could have hoped for, because let’s face it, it was a MUCH funnier version than I had conjured up and just…….so…….Greyson (side note: we do not condone the mistreatment of defenseless creatures of nature…sheesh). And it was also another great reminder, to enjoy them as they are, without unnecessary expectations of how it should be or could be. That’s what he’ll remember about us when he’s grown: that we love him for who he is, just as he is.
So I guess the moral of the story is to not catch fireflies. Just let ’em keep-on-keepin’-on with their blinkin’ and procreatin’. And the next time you’re driving along on a warm summer evening and need to clean your windshield, inadvertently smearing the neon light of an unsuspecting firefly all the way across the glass, I want you to think of me. And parenthood. And love. And Windex.
I think my work here is done.
Until next time lovelies,
Ps. I hereby extend my sincere condolences to the lover(s) and family of the firefly that lost its life in this story. Sorry ’bout that little guy.