Saturday, March 22, 2014

Butterflies...and an adventure

Yesterday I took Jacob and an eight-year-old friend to the Butterfly Garden at the Fort Worth Botanical Garden. Max's family has been so good about taking Jacob on adventuresome play dates, and this was one thing I thought I could do alone, though I was a bit uncertain about it.
Yes, back in the day I took four children everywhere by myself, never thought a thing about it. But then I was in my thirties; I'm a bit older now. I remember once when I had a fifth child with us. We went into a store and as we left, I realized I'd left a child behind. Turning to find that child, I bumped into a woman and said, "So sorry, ma'am, but I've lost a child." She put a comforting arm on mine and said, "Don't worry, honey. You got enough as it is." Another time I piled the children into the car at the grocery store and started off down a side street, only to realize that Jamie, my third, was running frantically down the street, waving his arms and calling. Jamie is the one who always says he's suing for the indignities and dangers he was subjected to as a child.
When  you have someone else's child or grandchild, you're even more careful as I was yesterday. I wouldn't let those boys out of my sight for two seconds, and when I wanted to use a restroom, I asked a docent to watch them.
The Botanic Garden has a tropical arboretum, and every year (I think) they release lots of butterflies into the space. I remember going about eight years ago when there was so many, flying at you from every direction, that it freaked my oldest granddaughter out and she had to leave. That time, they also had glassed-in boxes through which the children could watch butterflies emerge from the chrysalis, and the kids were fascinated.
On the way to the garden, the boys wanted the top down on the car, and from then on they were boisterous, loud and noisy, waving and calling to pedestrians. At the arboretum, they listened politely to the rules--no touching, watch where you walk, etc.--and I added no loud voices because they would scare the butterflies. They were actually well-behaved and listened attentively to a docent who helped them identify the ones they saw. But after five minutes, Max asked, "Can we leave now? I'm hot." It was hot and humid in there, no way around it. I tried to get him to take off his top shirt, which he finally did. But the butterflies were not nearly as numerous as I remember, and there was no chrysalis display.
Afterward, they wanted to run in the meadow behind the Botanic Garden building, and Jacob had a fine time running and throwing himself down in the grass. After a very few minutes, Max was too hot and came to sit with me in the shade.
We left for home and nothing would be but Jacob wanted to look for frogs in the ponds that had frog statues at either end. Max told him there were no frogs and waited in the car with me, while Jacob walked the perimeter of both ponds.
Finally I got them home, fed them ice cream (which they let Sophie eat too much of), and breathed a sigh of relief.  But they continued to raise holy Ned in the backyard--they broke a tree which they were "just leaning on" and found a nonexistent gate that they urged a neighbor to go through until I stopped that--I didn't want the gap between the fences widened enough for Sophie to get through.
A long but satisfying afternoon. I worry abut the scarcity of butterflies. They, like bees, are endangered these days--maybe that's what prompted by rant last night about our artificial world. But I will add that we saw some beauties yesterday--particularly the turquoise Blue Morpho, yellow-edged giant owl, and the tiger longwing. It's worth going to see the exhibit.

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