Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I'm sure there are many legends that involve butterflies. But none hold a candle to the significance and sentimentality of the fifteen very special construction paper butterflies that adorn the painted cinder block space above the chalkboard in my sister's middle school classroom.

You see, back in 1998, two very special hands used a pair of scissors and a black sharpie marker to transform simple pieces of school-grade construction paper into a rainbow of butterflies to decorate a young new teacher's room. That teacher is my sister and those now-laminated butterflies have become one of her most treasured possessions.

Gracing classrooms throughout the Southeast, the cut-outs, in brilliant shades of teal, pink, and fuschia, dance alongside their bold counterparts dressed in vivid orange, yellow and kelly green hues.

It is no coincendence that I usually pay my sister a visit just as it is time for her to change classrooms and redecorate for a new school year. This week has been no exception. And, just as in years past, our first mission is to hang the butterflies. Only, we could not find them. We dug through boxes of paper, books and science tools as well as stacks of manila folders-- any one of which could have contained the sought-after creatures.

I could sense the panic in my sister's voice as she searched her new classroom to no avail. Finally, she found them and all was right with the world. I then kicked into gear and performed my beloved annual job duty...taping them to the wall in just the perfect spot. One by one, I placed them in a design that mimicked butterflies flying up and down above her board. And as I taped each one to the wall, I offered up a silent note of thanks for our Mom.

I've been missing her a lot lately. Like when the very sight of my friend Cindy's nachos during my birthday dinner left me in a pool of tears... remembering that Mom used to make nachos and cheese as an after-school snack for us. Not an earth-shattering revelation but a special memory, regardless. That's why, as each butterfly found its respective perch on Jenny's wall today, I was more grateful to Mom than ever before. My sister is not able to pick up the phone and call Mom. And she can't share with her how much her granddaughter resembles her (it's freakish, really). But what she can do is glance up at a once-stark-white wall and revel in the time and love that went into creating those butterflies so many years ago.

And let me assure you, they have been lovingly preserved...as have the memories of a very special Mom whose spirit now dances, freely and without limitation, in the laminated glory of fifteen brightly-colored construction paper butterflies.


Megan (FriedOkra) said...

Beautiful, heart-felt post. I'm glad you and your sister have one another to share memories and help each other celebrate your Mom and all that made her special. Hugs - M

Cindy-Still His Girl said...


PLEASE tell me how to be that kind of mom. The kind who makes her girls feel so loved and special.

Ditto Fried Okra... so glad you have each other to share memories and tough moments.

Sincerely Anna said...

Beautiful! I can imagine those butterflies and how they give both you and your sister a smile and wonderful memories from years past. Beautiful tie to how the special memories of your mom stay with you, too.

Anonymous said...

You need to implement a tear jerker warning, so I will know to wait until I get home from work to read some of your posts.


MiaKatia said...

You tell the most beautiful stories. I am sorry that you are missing your mom. Hugs next time I see you.

Anonymous said...

Love this poetic post. I am a friend of a friend and have started following your blog.

farmgirl beth said...

I cannot imagine that hole you feel in your life. Your stories about your Mom are always a reminder to me that I must always live in each moment with my precious babies. I hope that as they grow I will create for them the kind of legacy that will steady them throughout their lives.

I don't know if you care about such things, but I wanted to let you know that I find your blog inspiring, so I chose to forward an award on to you. Check out my blog for details!

Alice Wills Gold said...

You have succeeded at the highest form of entertainment. Today you have taught me something new, made me laugh and made me cry all in the same set of 10 minutes.

What a sweet dear mother and two sweet dear daughters who live out a ritual of rememberance. I love it!