Fireflies are my absolute favorite bug. They aren't creepy, they don't bite, they don't sting - they just fly around and blink. What's not to love?
I just spent the last half hour catching them with the Girl. Just the two of us, out in the field behind our townhouse - chasing a thousand little blinking bugs, scaring the bejeezus out of them for our own entertainment. (**disclaimer here - no bugs were harmed in the making of this blog post.)
The Girl's not quite quick enough, but she got a real kick every time I caught one. We caught the same one about six times (sorry, bug, if we ruined your night.) We lunged for a few and missed. I'm sure the neighbors, if they were watching, were hoping that we wouldn't come after them when we snapped completely.
It was one of the best half hours of my life.
Sometimes, I just want five minutes to myself. I don't want to color, or play Barbies, or Little People, or CandyLand. I don't want to watch cartoons and have conversations that make no sense or revolve around My Little Pony. Life with kids means never having enough time to do what you (mom) want to do, and sometimes being a little resentful because it's only natural to be a little selfish from time to time.
The Girl is growing up at lightning speed. She's going to be seven on her next birthday. Seven! How the @$%@ did that happen? Wasn't it just yesterday that she was a little blob wrapped in a green fleece receiving blanket (nicknamed Glo-Worm for that very reason)? I remember when she couldn't talk, now she's a Chatty Cathy and pretty smart for her age. Talking with her is amazing sometimes.
When she was about three, her favorite thing was chalk. "Draw chalks with me, Mommy?" was her favorite question, and the answer usually involved me sitting on the front walk, taking orders from the Little Dictator to "draw me a circle, and a rectangle, and a triangle, and another rectangle." I drew them on the walk, on the porch, in the bathtub and bathroom tiles with bath crayons. Everywhere you could imagine, and always those same four things.
Well, now she draws them herself and she showers instead of taking tub baths. I miss those days sometimes, even though I'm astonished by the person she's becoming. Still, when I think back, or look at pictures, I wish to go back to those days so strong it almost hurts. I miss the baby she was, even though I can't wait to see the girl she'll become.
That's the paradox of parenthood - you wish for their first step, their first word, for them to be old enough to go out and play on their own, with their own friends. And when it happens, you would give anything to go back to the simpler days when you were the center of their world. You wish you hadn't wished it all away. You'd give anything to have one more day, one more hour of their baby days back.
So, while the last thing I really wanted to do was go out and catch fireflies, I will never forget how wonderful it was to spend that time with my Girl. And I won't look back and wish I had done it once she's too old for fireflies. I want to enjoy this time, when things are still fascinating to her - when catching fireflies is the most important thing in her world. The time goes by way too fast.
And I don't wish it away anymore.