Last night was SMOYC night, and this time it was in Wingham. As I was driving to Wingham my cell phone rang and it was Jeff, informing me that they were letting Illy go. That Makenna had decided "it was time".
So, I missed the whole thing, but got Jeff's play by play once I got home.
What happened was:
Jeff told Makenna what Patti had said about the tree. Makenna agreed that Illy needed a tree and ran to get the jar. Jeff thought "Aha! great! this is going to be easy!". So outside the three of them (Makenna, Jeff and Jack) went, with Illy.
They went out to the front yard and let Illy crawl around on Makenna's arm for awhile while she said goodbye.
Then they placed Illy on a leaf in the Irises. Shh! Don't tell Gran!
Then all hell broke loose.
My five year old daughter, no word of a lie....started SOBBING. All out, hard to breathe, hard to get a word in...sobbing.
Over a caterpillar. She wasn't ready to say good bye. She was her mommy. How would Illy live without her mommy? A bird might carry her off. she would never see her again.
"Daddy, I just don't think I can do it today".
So, back in the jar Illy went. Jeff and Makenna sat out front for awhile and talked about it, Jack taking it all in. Jeff figured that was it, that they would have to wait until I got home, nd hope Illy lived at least one more day in that jar. He was completely unprepared for the emotions Makenna was so publically displaying.
Over a caterpillar.
Then, Makenna announced that she was ready. So this time they went to the backyard, to save Makenna (and perhaps Jeff), any further embarassment. They went over to the tree by the swingset and placed Illy on it. Illy became quite excited with her newfound freedom and started to crawl away. Makenna was teary, and again commented that she was worried about how she would recognize Illy, that she would miss her, and that didn't Illy need her mother?
That boy that I married, that you all have your own opinions of, knelt down to his little girl whose eyes were filled with tears and said "Because you are her mommy, and mommies always know their children, no matter what, and no matter where they are, and they always do what's best for them, even if it's hard".
Yep. that's my Jeff.
That made Makenna smile, and she watched as Illy started to crawl away.
That's my daughter. The sensitive one, who cares way more than she should, who brings home stray caterpillars and takes better care of them than anyone thought possible, who writes about them in her journal at school and brings it in to show everyone. Who panicks when it gets left at school and who checks on its well being constantly. and truly, truly hurts when she has to say goodbye.
To a caterpillar.
That's my Makenna. And always has been.
But my son?
While Illy was in the tree crawling away, after Jack had witnessed all of the drama, he went and found the jar, and walked around the yard with it, calling "Illy?" "Illy?" "Illllllllly?" and fake crying. Absolute fake crying, with a few smirks thrown Makenna's way for good measure.
And let's not forget that he also picked up a ball and hurled it at the tree, knocking the caterpillar to the ground, but thankfully, not killing it. The two year old has a surprisingly good arm, with impressive accuracy.
Yep, that's my son. The smartass. The shit disturber.
So, that's the story of Illy. As soon as Makenna got up this morning, she wanted to go out to the tree and see if she was there. And this summer she will be watching for butterflies as she never has before.
I give Jeff credit for wading his way through all of that without me, and I am somewhat sad I missed it. But, he managed. And so did Makenna.
And I'm proud of both of them.