Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Caterpillar and The Butterfly

Peanut -

A few weeks ago I came across a quote from author Richard Bach that struck me, but I wasn't quite sure what to make of it, of the possible meanings:
"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly."

It wasn't lost on your Momma that one of your favorite books was The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  Or that we had the same butterfly visitor all spring and summer last year...a visitor who came when I needed you, missed you most.  Or that we chose to decorate your little brother's room with a Hungry Caterpillar theme...including giant canvas prints of the caterpillar and the butterfly.

Tonight on the drive home from work Momma's iPod stuck it to her, once again.  Peanut, I totally forgot I copied the audio of Eric Carle reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar to my iTunes account.  In all this time, it never popped up.  Until this evening, as I sat in bumper to bumper traffic.

Despite the wonderful memories evoked by this wonderful story and its delightful artwork, I have been unable to read it cover to cover since your death.  But today I sat and listened to the story's author read it, with his odd cadence, without any urge to forward through the track.  As I listened, I remembered.  Oh...how you loved the little egg on the leaf illuminated by the light of the moon.  And the giant orange sun that burst into the sky across the page.  The caterpillar's binge on Saturday with that cherry pie you just couldn't stop pointing to, over and over and over.  The bright green leaf he consumed the following day to soothe his achy tummy.  And then...TA DA!  The miraculous transformation of this fat caterpillar from cocoon to a BEEEEYOOOOUUUUTIFUL butterfly!  We would turn to that final page and you always gasped with wide blue eyes, then you would smile, clap and laugh.  And, together you and I would cry out, "YAY!"

So, maybe the quote above means a lot of different things - all specific to the individual, and the situation. But tonight I think I know what it means to me.  It reinforces that your time on this earth, with me and Dadda and grandma and grandpa and everyone else, that time was your caterpillar time.  You consumed life with enthusiasm and gusto.  But, what we view as "the end" has been anything but that for you.  Maybe now was your time to burst forth into the afterlife and spread those mosaic wings.  And, with one flap of those wings, you have created your Peanut Effect here on earth.  You have spread your love, your delight, your laughter.

I love that image.  The thought of a new butterfly.  A Peanut Butterfly who has now fully realized his potential.  Who is now waiting for us to join him and soar into the sunlight together.  Or, to the moon and back.

I love you.  I miss you.  To the moon - and back.
- Momma

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