The story I'm about to relay actually happened last Tuesday, but I'm only getting around to telling it now. It's not the ending to the caterpillar saga that I would have preferred, but it's what happened. And it's very bittersweet.
On Tuesday afternoon Eli went over to check on the caterpillar and said, "Hey Mom, he's turned into a butterfly!"
I went to go see, and was horrified to find the caterpillar/butterfly half-outside of its chrysalis, lying on the bottom of the jar. I told Eli that it looked dead.
Eli instantly burst into tears. "Why?!" he yelled. "What did I do wrong? Why did he have to die?"
I held him and tried to console him, but he was not to be consoled. Soon Rich was home, and we gave Eli a banana, turned on Phineas and Ferb, and Eli and Rich sat down to watch and cuddle on the couch. I took out the caterpillar to bury him in the backyard.
Except, when I dumped him out he started wiggling around. I immediately scooped him back into the jar and ran back inside.
"He's still alive!" I yelled.
Eli jumped off the couch and immediately came over to inspect the caterpillar/butterfly, which was still wiggling. His mood instantly changed. "Dad, he's moving. He's alive!!"
Rich checked too, and came to the conclusion that the caterpillar/butterfly was struggling to get out of its chrysalis. "I'm going to take him outside Eli, and give him some fresh air. You go back to your show."
Moments later Rich came back inside and found me in the kitchen. "I tried to get it out of its chrysalis, but I couldn't help it," he said. "And I don't want Eli to watch it die a slow death. So I dumped it where he won't see it."
Then he went back into the living room and spoke to Eli. "I'm hoping the fresh air will help him," Rich told Eli. "I left the jar off the lid so he can get lots of air. He might fly away, but at least we'll know he's okay."
After Phineas and Ferb was over Eli went outside to check. He came running back in, yelling in excitement. "He's gone! He flew away! Isn't that great?"
We agreed with Eli that it really was great. And in a way, it is. Because Rich and I have a wonderful boy with such a generous spirit that he didn't care at all that he didn't ever get the see the butterfly emerge from its cocoon. He just wanted it to be okay.
The next day Eli drew this picture of himself and the butterfly. I think it' s beautiful.