Saturday, September 08, 2007

Metamorphosis and the Illusion of Control

A week ago while cleaning my basil harvest I found a monarch caterpillar chrysalis. Just dangling on the stalk in its perfect jade green splendor, laced neatly with a glimmering golden thread. It was just THERE when I looked. Nothing prepared me for it. I have looked on the underside of every milkweed plant waiting for a glimpse and never found one. Here at the bottom of a heavy pile of basil that was crammed into a tote bag on my kitchen floor for days is this fabulous, impossibly smooth miracle. I put it in a jar and wait.

Only a few days before, my daughter (just barely five years old) gets two loose teeth. Front and center just where they should be. They wiggle and wiggle. She wobbles and twists them. One is ready to go for sure. I knowingly dispense the requisite firm cinnamon raisin bagel and-- it is free! A perfect window to poke her finger into. Sophia puts her tooth in a plastic, hot pink "tooth treasure trove" for safe keeping forever. Why give something like that away to a fairy?

I peek at the chrysalis. No changes. How can that be when my world is moving beneath my feet?
My daughter brings her tooth in for show and tell on the first day of....kindergarten. Kindergarten!

Now this post is all about metamorphosis so it bears mentioning that not so long ago the word school made her crumble in a weeping heap. She was homeschooling and that was that. Only- it wasn't. Over the spring and summer there was an unmistakable metamorphosis. She came slowly into bloom.... We took little steps, carefully looking at the path at first until by summer's end ...she took great running leaps and bounds with her eyes straight out on the horizon gleaming. And she burst into her power and it was amazing.

And then she held a bagel in one hand and said.."MOM?" and showed me that tooth.

The day I dropped her at school I stumbled home back past the crossing guard blinded by tears (sorry Loomis Street crossing guard). I started a four hour cleaning/grieving jag that got me through most of the time intact. I thought,"Do I really have to do this again tomorrow?.. The next day and the next I went to work after dropping her. It distracted me but the pain was still there.

The chrysalis is in the kitchen I am waiting for the case to slowly become transparent and for that which is hidden to appear. I know that in every part of my life, in its right time, this does happen...