Still akimbo

Still akimbo

It has been a week.  My emotional compass was demagnetized by the birth of Henry.  I find I am time traveling back to my child bearing days, and then jetting forward to ask what big events of Henry's future I will be present, or conversely, absent for.  I believe this is the melancholic sliver of O'Donnell Irish in me.  It is not productive.

The week also began with a storm induced power outage that plagued us for 60 hours.  During this time, Steve announced his plans to continue the podcasts, as a subscription venture.  He might as well have announced his intention to rape and plunder.  This will be the topic of my next post.

Friday found us with power but no internet, as the neighbor's lawn crew cut the cable.  I have been able to post on FB and Twitter a via 3G, but I am not yet proficient enough to blog from my phone.  I expect that will become a snap as I master Word Press.  I have been sitting on a story since last Sunday that I really wish to share.  So bear with me, please.

When the boys were little, we traveled to Pompano Beach every winter to spend a week with my parents.  Though Detroit is close, our lives rarely merged.  The week was a chance for Grandma and Grandpa to spoil them a little, and mostly to catch up on their rapidly changing personalities.  One year, they bought tickets to Butterfly World, a park in Coconut Grove highly touted by the other Grandparents in residence.  Flowers, larva, birds, fish and tons of butterflies were sure to amaze and astound the sophisticated Dahl men of the world.  This was not a cheap excursion.  At the time, admission was $14, though I see that this has spiraled up in the intervening years.

I do not have to tell you that the boys were underwhelmed.  There were a few cocoons in glass cases that were touted as being ready to pop.  We saw nothing.  Ads proclaimed that beautiful butterflies would alight on our bodies.  Not one.  The gardens were described as havens for tens of thousands of specimens.  Apparently, it was a slow day in Butterfly World.  The birds were hiding.  We idled for two hours, waiting to experience Monarch Madness.  The boys pretended to be interested, but the pool and shuffleboard court beckoned.  My parents had tried to provide a little magic, but my boys are a tough crowd.  We piled into the car, and for 10 miles I expect that Mom and Dad silently counted all the things that 100 bucks could have bought.

In the years that followed, Butterfly World became an inside joke with the boys and Grandma and Grandpa.  When we would visit in later years, Mom would say she already had the tickets.  If we saw any sort of butterfly, we would remark that it had escaped from B- World.  In the end, it WAS a special day, remembered and laughed about.

Twelve years ago, my Mom died in October, at the end of butterfly season.  After her funeral, we spent time together at my sister's home.  The inside of her house had been invaded by a dozen butterflies.  The kids patched this winged invasion with our visit in Florida.  From then on, we alluded to Mom as our Royal Monarch. It is a theme embraced by all.

Last Sunday we set out to see our newest Dahl, safely home in Chicago after the hard work of being born.  Matt and Justine joined us for a bit, and then they headed home.  As they left Pat and Rachel's condo, they noticed a visitor on the stoop.  There were no flowers, no birds, no fish- just one beautiful Monarch, sitting on the step.

Matt captured it with his camera, and sent me a text- Gma Elaine, checking in on Henry.

I like to think it was. He's perfect, isn't he, Mom ?

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  • Beautiful ~

  • LOVE the butterfly world story.

    Parents today are obsessed with crafting the perfect experience for their children in every encounter, when in reality, your story highlights that the only thing that matters is being together as a family. That is what creates meaning and memories.

    I hope you can impart that on the new parents.

    And despite that fact that Steve may be "On the Dole" if the podcast doesn't work out, the Irish will always be able to best you on tragedy. So no more morose thoughts.

  • LOVE the story.

    Parents today are obsessed with crafting the perfect experience at every moment for their children, when in reality, your piece highlights that the only thing that matters is spending time with family and friends who matter. That is what creates memory and meaning.

    And even though Steve may be "On the Dole" if the podcast doesn't work out, the Irish will best you every time on their tragedy meter.

    So no more morose thoughts Frank McCourt.

  • That's a wonderful story Janet.
    It's really lovely that you and your kids will forever connect the sight of a Monarch butterfly with a visit from your Mom. Congratulations on your beautiful grandson. I look forward to following your adventures in gramma-hood through your blog and Steve's podcasts.

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    What a lovely story, congrats to you and your family on your newest member.

  • Love this...

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