For May 29th, 2009
Once upon a time there was a little girl named Emily who loved to go exploring in the great wide world. Emily was fond of all the seasons, but she especially loved springtime. She crawled through the tall weeds on her hands and knees in the vacant field behind her house. On Monday she found a yellow spider. On Tuesday she found two brown baby snakes. On Wednesday she found a fat black beetle. On Thursday she saw a green lizard and on Friday she found a red lady bug with black spots resting on a yellow dandelion.
“Lady Bug, lady bug, fly away home. Your house is on fire, your children alone,” Emily said repeating a phrase she learned at school.
But the lady bug didn’t fly away. She flew right into the Emily’s opened hand and the bug’s tiny legs tickled her palm. Then the lady bug crawled up her arm and stopped near her shoulder. Emily tried to pry the lady bug off but it was stuck.
Maybe she wants to be my friend, Emily thought. I’ll bring her home and take good care of her.
So Emily brought the lady buy home, found a glass jar and filled it with grass and leaves. She pocked holes in the lid with a screw driver so her new friend could breathe. Then she put the lady bug inside and placed the jar next to her bed. Each day she checked on her new friend and gave her fresh leaves. But she noticed the lady bug never spread her wings to fly any more.
One day Emily was running through the weed grass with the wind pushing her blond hair behind her. Then she thought about her friend in a jar in her bedroom.
“I feel sorry for my lady bug,” she told her mother after she went back home. “She is trapped. But I don’t want to set her free because I love her and I’ll miss her.
“Sometimes,” her mother answered, “when we really love someone, we choose to set them free.”
Emily thought about what her mother said. The next day she took the glass jar far out into the field and opened the lid very slowly. Then she watched as the lady bug crawled to the top of the jar, stopped for a moment and flew away. That night Emily looked at the empty jar next to her bed and cried.
The next morning when she was slipping on her sweater for school she saw something that took her breath away. A golden lady bug with diamond spots and two sparkly emerald eyes was pinned to her sweater near the shoulder right where her old friend used to rest.
“I love your lady bug,” her friend at school said that day.
“Me too,” Emily answered.
Happy Birthday Emily. This is a story I wrote just for you because I love you so very much.
P.S. Check your mailbox every day. You might find something sparkly in there.