I have no pictures of tonight's most awesome event, so my words will have to do.
I usually go a little nuts when I see the first lightening bugs of summer. Tonight, I was folding laundry in the basement, catching up on some mindless and much needed television, when I saw the twinkling in the trees through the sliding glass door. I really only had two choices: go running through the backyard by myself, or...
I crept upstairs as quietly as I could so as not to wake my two sleeping babes. I found a jelly jar and a poked a few holes in the lid. I grabbed the sparkly pink running shoes by the door and tiptoed down the hallway. I sneaked into Sylvia's room, stole a pair of socks from her drawer and knelt next to her bed. I ran my hand through her hair and whispered her name until she started to stir. I didn't want to scare her, so when she rolled over and looked at me, I whispered, "Hi, sweet girl!" and she smiled at me. I said, "Guess what? The lightening bugs are out!" Then I showed her the jar and asked, "Do you want to come outside and catch some with me?" She giggled, sat up, rubbed her eyes, and whispered, "Yes, I do!"
We stood on the back deck and I pointed out the yellow twinkling lights in the trees. Her arms were tight around my neck and her long, lanky legs were wrapped around my waist. She kept saying, "I see them, Mommy!" She clenched the jelly jar while we headed down the steps and she whispered, "This is so fun." I knew it was worth waking her up.
I tiptoed down the hill in our yard and she kept looking over my shoulder and gasping, more excited with each sighting than the one before it. I realized that I probably waited too long, since it was really too dark to see the bugs after they were no longer lit. I just can't think of anything more exciting than tracking down a dark, fluttering, spot with my eyes, holding out my palm until I'm right under it, and clasping it shut to feel the tiny bug inside. I managed to do it once with Sylvia on my hip and we both giggled as we tilted our heads together.
I put her down on the ground, took the lid off the jar, and handed it to her. I told her she had to be quick with the lid so our new friend wouldn't get out. She shuffled from one foot to the other until I dumped our treasure inside, then she slammed the lid onto the jar and we twisted in tight together. We watched that poor bug in his jar for quite some time before heading out to try some more.
We wandered down our hill and all around our house. Sylvia was mesmerized by the street lamps and the neighbor's porch lights. She pointed and gasped every time a light flashed near us and she shouted, "There, Mommy! Catch it!" After each failed attempt, she'd say, "Oh, darn it!" then she'd point to the next one. We came close a couple more times, but it was just too dark to catch any more. Before heading back into the house, I asked Sylvia if we should keep the bug we caught, or let it go. She told me it was crying and we should let him go, so I knelt down beside her and twisted off the lid. We watched it crawl to the top of the jar, spread it's tiny black wings, and disappear into the air. Sylvia waved into the darkness and said, "Bye, bye, lightening bug! See you another later!"
I carried her up the steps, took off her shoes by the back door, and carried her to her room. When I laid her back in bed, there were no complaints and there was no whining. She yawned, snuggled her dou-dou bunnies, and rolled to the side. When I covered her with her blanket, she reached up to touch my face and said, "That was fun, Mommy." I said, "I had fun, too, Sylvia. Sleep tight. I love you so much." Through a yawn, she said, "I love you, too," and closed her eyes. I tiptoed out as lightly as I tiptoed in.
I know I don't have many years to do this. Someday, she'll be up long into the dark hours of the night and she won't care one little bit for lightening bugs. After I shut her door and made my way down the hall, I decided to do this every year for as long as I can. I won't be able to make this much magic forever, so I hope she grows up remembering tonight. I hope she remembers the way her arms felt around my neck, the cool, late night summer air, and the red checkered lid to the jar. I hope she remembers the twinkling lights in the trees and I hope that whenever she sees them for the first time each year, that she thinks about home.