Kids & Parenting
Butterflies and Women
by Tammy Dovichak
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“Angie,” called her Mother from the bottom of the stairs. “Are you okay?”
In response, Angie, or Angela as she now wished to be called, slammed her bedroom door and slumped onto her bed. After burying her face deep into her thin, worn pillow and wiping away the mysterious tears that had pooled at the corner of each eye, she turned her head toward the window beside her bed and stared out toward her Mother’s pink asters, growing in their front lawn.
Slamming doors, grumpy looks and tears without reason. This is what her life had suddenly been reduced to. She desperately wanted to talk to someone. There were so many questions. But, how would she start the conversation? Who was she supposed to go to? Her Mother was the obvious choice, they had always been so close, but her recent moodiness had taken its toll and she was afraid that talking would be out of the question.
Knock… knock… knock… Her Mother stood on the opposite side of the door, awaiting an invitation.
“Come in.” mumbled Angie, speaking the words half into her pillow.
The door creaked open. Soft footsteps made their way toward her bed. Before sitting down, Angie’s Mother ran a finger across her cheek, gently wiping away a tear-soaked strand of hair.
“Would you like to talk?” asked her Mother.
Angie did not reply.
“Well,” began her Mother. “I think I might know what’s bothering you.”
She leaned over her silent daughter and pulled the thin curtain away from the window. “Do you see my flower patch by the road?”
“Yeah,” Angie mumbled, still buried in her pillow.
“Look closely. What else do you see?”
Angie pulled her face out of the pillow and focused on the patch of flowers. When nothing out of the ordinary caught her eye, she let out a small huff and prepared to bury her face again. Then, she saw them. Almost a dozen little, yellow butterflies dancing at the top of her Mother’s fluffy, pink flowers.
“The butterflies?” she asked, curiously.
“That’s right,” said her Mother. “Those butterflies are a lot like us.”
Angie grimaced at her Mother’s words. “How am I like a butterfly?”
“Do you think they come into this world so beautiful?” she asked.
“No.” answered Angie. “In science class we learned about them. They’re caterpillars before they become butterflies.”
“How ‘bout that,” said her Mother. “Right now I see you going through some pretty big changes, too.”
Angie felt her Mother leave the bed and heard her rummaging through her things on her dresser.
“What are you looking for?” she asked.
“Ah!” Came her reply. “I found it.”
The bed shifted again as her Mother sat back down. “Look into this.” She instructed, motioning toward a small mirror she was now holding.
Angie stared at her tear-streaked face. The sight did not make her feel any better. “What am I looking at?” she asked, impatiently.
“You’re looking at my little caterpillar.” She answered.
“Gross!” complained Angie. “Do you think I’m ugly?”
“No, honey!” she said quickly. “I think you are one of God’s most beautiful creatures. This part of your life is sort of like your cocoon. Right now you’re emotional and confused. You hide in your room so much I barely see you some days. You’re probably seeing some pretty strange physical changes, too.”
Angie held her breath. “Mom,” she began. “I saw some blood when I used the bathroom at school.”
“Oh,” said her Mother excitedly, “How wonderful! I knew this would be happening soon.”
“It didn’t feel very wonderful,” replied Angie.
“Don’t worry, honey. I promise I’ll explain it all. The important thing to realize is that, like a caterpillar, you have to transform. These changes are all part of growing up.”
“What am I turning into?” asked Angie.
“A woman.” She said, plainly. “What kind of woman depends on how you deal with the changes that are taking place. I know you’re scared and confused, right now, but if you’re patient and use this time to get to know the beautiful person staring back at you from your mirror, you’ll emerge from your cocoon as a strong and graceful young woman.”
Angie pulled herself up and looked into her Mother’s eyes. “Did you feel mad for no reason or cry all the time when you went through this?"
“Absolutely,” she answered. “And I hold the record for slammed doors.”
“Will I be just like you when the changes stop?” she asked.
“You’re going to be just what God created you to
be,” her Mother answered.
“Then, I hope he created me to be the same woman you are,” replied Angie.
This time, it was her Mother’s turn to shed a tear.
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