Maddie, Gracie, and another neighborhood girl from across the circle were riding bikes on Sunday afternoon when they found an injured butterfly in the parking lot where they were navigating their obstacle course. They stopped to check it out and somehow it hopped onto Maddie's hand and stayed there; they walked over and asked if they could build it a little nest to recover in. Sure, I said, a little distracted by putting groceries away and figuring out what to make for dinner.
They worked on building their nest behind the garage for about 45 minutes or so, running back and forth from the yard to behind the garage and back again. Maddie came in to tell me it was finished but I was in the middle of cooking dinner with three burners on and I didn't want to leave the stove unattended, so I told her I'd go look at it later. But then I didn't, because things can get busy around here; Maddie got after me yesterday morning for not looking at their nest yet, and I promised her I would do so after the bus stop when I took Bridget to school. The butterfly had not made it through the night, she said (it turned very cold on Sunday night and Monday morning was wet, cold, and dreary) but that I could still see it. She is a child with a huge heart, and I assured her that she had done the best she could have done for the butterfly.
When I went to see it, I was amazed—it was beautiful. The most perfectly built butterfly nest any children could have built:
So lovely I had to go back in to get my camera to take a picture of it.
About three hours later, I learned that my 93 year old Grandma died. My grandma, the one who used to keep a beach ball in the trunk of her car just in case she and my Grandpa came upon a hotel with a pool on their travels. She loved:
+ my Grandpa, her second husband: married from the end of WWII until his death in 1986
+ knitting and needlepointing: for her family and for Better Homes and Gardens
+ reading: she didn't come to love reading for pleasure until later in life, but she made up for lost time
+ speaking a little Swedish for her granddaughter: I never got tired of hearing her recite what she remembered from relatives when she was little
+ keeping secrets about her occasionally reckless past, and then no doubt giggling to herself inwardly when one occasionally surfaced: Roller Derby, driving her car top speeds through the state of Kansas hither and yon, etc.
+ smoking: decades and decades, until she stopped a few years ago
+ competent people: ones who didn't whine about their circumstances and who did the job that needed to be done
+ making toffee: she saved the boxes that checks come in to fill up with toffee and give as gifts every Christmas
+ making things: a passion she passed along to me
+ cards: especially Canasta, a complicated game she taught me to play when I was little that I can't remember a single rule from now
She loved butterflies. They were her thing: I grew up knowing that Grandma Rinehart loved butterflies, which led to a lifelong association: see a butterfly, think of Grandma Rinehart. She would have been very proud of her great-granddaughters for tending so carefully the one who died the same day she did.