On Saturday night your father and I dressed you and your brother in pajamas, put Arlo to bed, and then the three of us went outside. It was beginning to grow dark and the lightening bugs were just beginning to twinkle in the dark corners of our yard.
Daddy caught one of them to show you and the two of you stood there, watching as the tiny bug flashed a bright glow against your father’s cupped hand. I went inside to fetch you a mason jar to collect them. Around the yard you went, pointing them out as he caught them one by one and then gingerly placed them down into the container covered with a cloth. You were mesmerized as you held tightly to the glass and watched them flash.
Once you had an impressive little collection, daddy lifted off the cloth and we watched as they each flew out and away into the night sky. We gave you a glow stick to dance around with and you stuck it down the back of your pajamas and flapped your arms and we laughed at our very own little lightening bug as she danced. It was an hour past your bedtime as we drew pictures of the little bugs on our sidewalk with chalk and gave them silly names.
As a girl of the south, you will have many opportunities over the course of your childhood to chase lightening bugs around our yard. It was something I grew up doing and my mother before me. It’s a right of passage around these parts and I’ll never forget the first introduction between our tiny daughter & this wonder of the the natural world. These are the things that stay with us - you dancing barefoot in the yard. The quiet pierced occasionally by the distinctive high pitched squeal of your excitement. And your head cocked towards the sky as the little bugs flashed brightly against the dark.
I felt honored to be there with you as you experienced it for the first time. The night you met your first lightening bug - it is the little, seemingly insignificant memories like these that I’ve learned anchor themselves most securely in the happiest part of our heart.