Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Counting Butterflies by Rusty Harden
The ride to the park was fun for both of us. We always take the winding country road with lots of small farms. Every time we'd come to the cow crossing sign she'd sit up straight and look around for them. We never did see a crossing cow. I loved it that she could enjoy the simple things. Her early years were full of troubles that a child should not have had to deal with. You can't go back and undo those experiences but I've done my best to make up for them and to protect her ever since I've been old enough to figure out how.
I've taught her to accept my love, that the world is a better place because she is in it and that she is worthy of having dreams. On the other hand, I probably have been too protective. I can't bear it when other people disappoint her or are unkind. She has a couple of friends but we spend most of our time together when I am not working.
It was her idea to go to the park. After we walked through the meadow counting the butterflies, we headed for our favourite spot at the top of the hill. There is a rock that resembles a chair. It is a beautiful view. We sat quietly for a little while when I noticed she seemed a little restless. I looked at her and realized she had something to say. Finally she began a rehearsed speech with unusual awkwardness, "You've been taking care of me for a long time. No one has ever loved me more than you have." Her voice calmed and she continued, "We're not that child anymore. We can face disappointment with the grace of a woman, now. Even if you get hurt, you know how to handle it. You'll be okay."
I realized that she was telling me that she was not staying. I let the tears roll down my cheeks as she finished giving me her strength. She stood and walked towards the meadow. Suddenly she started to skip and with a big smile she called back to me, "Remember me in your dreams!"