The Day the Butterflies Went Away

There are certain expected milestones in your child’s life that make you happy, sad, and sometimes a little bit of both. First steps, first words, first days of schools…they’re all pretty much lumped together and spark a flutter of emotions.

But, it’s the unique milestones that really hit you right in the mommy gut. They’re often ones you thought would have no significance at all.

For me, it’s the day the butterflies went away.

When my youngest daughter was born we decorated her nursery in a butterfly theme.  There were butterflies all around her room; purple and pink, everything matched, from the crib sheet to the curtains. The butterflies never seemed to bother her…not like she had a say in the matter anyway.

As my daughter started growing and developing her own little personality, I could immediately tell she wasn’t the purple and pink butterfly kind of girl. She was the one to chase them away, not to admire their beauty.  Nevertheless, the butterflies stayed where they were. It was their home after all. Even as she moved from the crib to a “big girl bed”, the butterflies hung on.

When she turned four and was waist-deep into “My Little Pony”, we changed her bedspread and curtains to match her current obsession.

But, the butterflies remained on the wall. She didn’t seem to care as long as her ponies were around.

From the ponies we added “Shopkins” decals on the walls…next to the butterflies. The “Shopkins”, ponies, and butterflies all seemed to live in perfect harmony, although they had nothing in common except for the fact they shared a room.

Then a couple of months ago, my then 5-year-old daughter said, “Mommy, I want to take the butterflies off. They’re babyish. I’m a big girl.”

What? No more butterflies? What did they ever do to you?

As much as I didn’t want to admit it, I knew she had a point. She was growing up whether I wanted to face it or not. When my older daughter changed her room décor, it didn’t bother me in the least. In fact, I welcomed it. But, when it’s your youngest, it’s just different…at least for me.

Since the butterflies were going bye-bye, I figured we might as well get rid of the ponies too. So I suggested buying new bedding for her sixth birthday. She immediately jumped aboard that train adding, “something for big girls”. I agreed to that. It would be nice to choose a bedding theme that could last the test of time…or at least through her little phases and fads.

She chose a zebra rainbow pattern. I have to admit, it is very nice and is “something for big girls”. While we’re still making the transition and adding decorations here and there, the butterflies are gone.

They have a new home, in her closet, along with toys that aren’t exactly for “big girls” anymore.

While I can’t hold on to the butterflies, I’ll still grab onto those mommy hugs and snuggles whenever I can get them before they fly away.

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