"You ready?" my parents asked me. "I have to get a picture of the glasswing butterfly first," I replied. "Chad saw it a few minutes ago."
The butterfly aviary is one we are familiar with as we visit it every single year we go to Branson. In fact it was a year ago that I met Julie who then sent me information on the glasswing butterfly after reading my blog.
The glasswing ,well and the monarch, are my mascots. Spirit animals? Whatever, their existence helps me to survive my own.
The air is cooler than normal in the aviary and not as humid as it usually is, which also means the butterflies are not as active that day. We had already had a huge surprise when we first got there when I spotted my coloring journal Taking Flight. I had completely forgotten they sold it there in the gift shop.
I love butterfly houses but I also knew I needed pictures to use for this very blog, so it was both work and pleasure, the always delicate balance of my life. I had all but forgotten about the glasswing until Chad finally spotted it a few minutes prior.
Every single time I would get close enough for a shot her transparent wings and tiny body would become a blurred flit in the air challenging our eyes to keep track of her. Her frantic movement reminded me of my life these last several weeks. I have been busy, busier than I have ever been. Yet, I have also tried to stop referring to it as busy because that can become such an excuse for so many of us. I am too busy, has become like nails on a chalkboard for me
It is a fact, we are all busy. Life will never get unbusy.
We must, I think, choose our busy.
Much like the crazed glasswing butterfly, most days I feel like a crazed flit in the air that no one can catch.
There was a difference though, this butterfly lived in a home decked in Christmas joy of music and decorations. I, on the other hand, have yet to put up a single snowman or glitter garland. Christmas is less than 20 days away and I don't have one bit of Christmas jolly in my house. My excuse has been my crazed business and being out of town so much.
Or so I thought.
Then yesterday on a gray and chilly St. Louis morning God stopped me in my tracks. As my gigantic-never-gets-all-the-way-done to-do list ran through my head I caught a glimpse of movement in the backyard. At first it was only the whites of their tails that caught my eye against our tree line that has gone mostly brown already.
Three deer standing in a row.
They all stop to look at me in their statue-like grace as I step onto a chair to get a better view of them through our back windows. I find myself taking a deep breath; a paused, deep breath in spite of my looming to-do list and every passing minute that nothing is getting crossed off of it.
My chosen busy lately has been a ton of amazing travel, continuing to see a full-time case load of clients (including doing more Rising Strong intensives, which I love), working on the second book proposal and building my Plexus team.
It is all stuff I absolutely love and wholeheartedly believe in.
It is on top of that chair seeing God's not so gentle reminder of my three, that I realize I have also been busy because I am passing through another damn holiday and looming due date without my three.
We are "supposed" to have four year olds this Christmas. Four year olds in their matching Christmas jammies giggling with magical excitement as they leave a note, cookies and milk for Santa and sprinkle glitter on our front yard for the reindeer.
Instead, I tortured our three little dogs with their own Christmas jammies for this year's holiday card.
I got the shot of the glasswing butterfly, because I am one determined woman running three businesses with the frenzied grace like a glasswing butterfly.
I still haven't crossed everything off that damn to-do list, and probably never will. I will keep on in this wholehearted hustle knowing I am always enough (or at least telling myself that).
With God's gentle, for now reminder, I will stop and feel the forever longing joy. I know better than to think I can busy myself enough to forget about the grief of my life.
They would have been four. I miss them and wonder always. I am thankful and I am sad.
The holidays only make all of the above more palpable, no matter how long that to-do list is.
Be still my child, He must constantly remind me of.
As I finish up this piece, I sit with my three little jammie-less dogs flanked on both sides of me, our noses filled with the slightest scent of pine.
You see, God, also gave me Chad. Last night after my dinner out with friends I walked into the house to see an oddly shaped, delicious smelling and plain as day Christmas tree. "You said you wanted a real one," Chad said with love in his eyes.
My eyes filled with tears, "I did."
He looks back at me with confusion, as to him it is only a tree and a nice gesture for his wife.
To me it is a tree that reminds me that my house is missing a few four year olds to help me decorate it, and so it is also one more thing on that never ending to do list.
I am finding you never quite know how grief will hit you year to year, especially with the holidays or special dates. What I do know is that we cannot busy ourselves enough to forget about it.
It is a huge part of us, and always will be. I am honored and grateful to be their mother, all within my forever longing for them.
So I guess the question really is: How long will the tree stay bare?
Not as long as my heart will ache.