Delicate butterflies fluttered their wings all around her as she tried to follow their unpredictable patterns. Up, down, back and forth they swayed, dancing in the fresh morning air. Their wings a beautiful bold yellow in color, mimicking the bright sun as it warmed the earth.
I don’t chase butterflies. I wonder if I ever even did. When life is moving at a breakneck pace, every last moment scheduled out, it’s hard to break out of the chaos to even notice their mere existence.
I had one of those conversations the other night with my husband. You know the kind that you wish you didn’t have to have because it is convicting in every sense possible and points out to you the qlaringly obvious faults you know you posses and desire to change but just can’t seem to get out of your own head enough to even know where or how to start?
I had come back from an evening out, the house was quiet, the kids were in bed. I walked in fully expecting to eat a quick bite and head straight to bed. Instead, I found myself lingering with my husband as long as I could possible stand to keep my eyes open until I couldn’t any longer, disappointed my once youthful self would have chomped at the bit to stay up all hours of the night hanging onto ever last word coming from his mouth. Three kids later and my eyes just don’t stay open like they used to.
In the couple of hours we did spend sitting at the table, the one I refinished months ago that I was so proud of only to find that painting a table white with kids was maybe not the best move, I found myself drinking up the stillness of the moment. Kids in bed. The house somewhat put back together after the extended bedtime saga. Our conversation began with my husband telling me stories of the girls playing cowgirl before bed, his eyes twinkling as he showed me the video of the girls in their brand-new pink cowgirl boots, galloping around the kitchen. My heart melted as I watched with an eagerness, loving the moments absent of tears and bickering.
He went on about our middle. Our wild one. The one that I can never fully figure out. The one who looks at life completely opposite of me. The one who stops and picks the dandelions out front when we are late getting out the door to anywhere and everywhere. She lingers at bedtime, asking for an abundance of hugs and kisses claiming she never got any whatsoever even after the 4th or 5th time of this game.
Her favorite phrase is “I love you, and I love you too.” And has been for quite some time. At first, I didn’t realize the tenderness of her repeating it twice but after multiple times, it hit me just how precious those words are to her and by her expressing it in that way, she was giving a piece of her own heart to me unconditionally. No sooner did I acknowledge it was precious to her did I myself let the phrase impact my heart in a way that only she could with it.
Our conversation continued with my husband intently telling me that I have so much to learn from my little girl. I stopped, deer in the headlights standstill as I looked straight into his kind eyes exhorting me in that very moment in the sweetest of ways.
I don’t often have the patience for the two “I love you’s” or the “mom, look at me’s” or multiple snuggle sessions a day. It always seems to be while I am in the middle of something and instead of pulling myself out of the thing that is urgently pulling my attention away from her I carry on believing another moment will come soon enough.
This morning, as I watched her chase the butterflies, I couldn’t help but to think of our differences. The ones that drive me to the end of myself constantly as I realize that God uses her in my life to refine my own self and how far I still have to go. Her innocence is pure and the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. She believes the only thing with any sort of importance in that very moment are those butterflies. She lives for that moment, the present moment.
A half an hour went by as she scurried from place to place, standing only briefly as she stretched out her arm in hopes one would land on her. Her eyes dancing with excitement, her round cheeks with a smile so large her teeth showed.
I have so much to learn. So much to get right. So much to let go of. So many more teachable moments ahead of me. I only pray that as God uses all three of my little girls to refine me each in their own God-ordained ways, I will welcome the changes with open arms, welcome the lessons He is using them to show me, keeping my heart wide open, ready and willing to stop with all fascination at the butterflies dancing all around me.