B is for Butter (fly)
I like butter. (Enter celestial music. Read in a whisper.) When I see a stick of butter on the counter, so perfectly formed, I suddenly have the urge to run out and buy a loaf of walnut-raisin bread. You know, the kind that’s freshly baked, nice and warm and so scrumptious! I rip off a piece, grab my butter knife and delicately cut into that quintessential rectangular solid. My mouth begins to water as I cover the bread with a big chunk of butter, like a beautiful blanket hugging the top of a bed! After admiring my creation, I can finally take a bite. And ahhhhh… it’s so satisfying.
…Oh yes, my blog. I got lost in a butter fantasy. My apologies.
To avoid these alphabet blogs descending into discussions of my favorite foods, I contemplated other butter words. There’s butterscotch, butter beer, butternut, buttermilk, butterball, buttercup, butterfinger and of course, butterfly.
I love butterflies. (I mean, have you ever met anyone that doesn’t like them?) Butterflies are like these tiny little miracles, animated snowflakes, each unique and beautiful. I don’t know about you, but when I see a butterfly, I breathe like I’ve had a bit of surprise- not a gasp, but a gentle, “Oh!”
I also relate to the butterfly’s metamorphosis. Hunkering down, giving myself some much needed time to grow, like the butterfly does in her cocoon, and emerging on the other side, proud of my growth and progress. That’s a familiar experience.
And in 2001, the butterfly became a symbol of something even more meaningful. That was the year we lost our daughter, Hope. The experience left my husband and I struggling to process the pain. We were newlyweds, still learning how we each dealt with challenges.
A few months later we received an invitation to celebrate the life of our daughter from the hospital where she’d been born. Initially, we resisted. The thought of being around so many people who suffered the same pain was not appealing. But at the last minute, we decided to attend.
The event started in a small room that felt like a sanctuary. We were each given a candle and one by one, went to the front of the room to light the candle in our child’s name. Then we were escorted outside and handed a small box. After a few inspirational words were offered, we were instructed to open the box. A beautiful group of butterflies emerged out of their boxes, celebrating their freedom as they fluttered around. I was surprised as the one I released lingered by my face, as if to take a moment for me to feel her presence. It was a profound experience.
From that moment on, every butterfly became a symbol of our daughter.
Now when I see a butterfly, I smile as I recall our time with Hope. In the brief time she was with us, she left a tremendous impression on me, one that affected the entire trajectory of my life and determined the type of Mom I would become. The lessons she offered are indelible. And despite the pain I felt (and sometimes still feel) on the human level, I’m able to see the deeper, spiritual meaning of her choice to come through me and only stay for a while. I’m so, so grateful for her.
So butter, buttercream, or butterscotch. They’re all great words. But butterfly…well, that’s a word I’ll always hold close to my heart.