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The Happy Caterpillar

“Love is like a butterfly. It goes where it pleases, and it pleases wherever it goes. Love is like a butterfly, hold it too tight, it’ll crush. Hold it too loose, it’ll fly.”

…Author Unknown…

Whether you are the proud parent of a child, or not, I’m willing to bet that you, yourself, remember the feeling you felt the very last time you walked out of your high school door. That moment in time when the door clicked behind you…that instant when you became suddenly aware that a significant part of your life was over.

If you are anything like me, mixed in with the joy of your newfound freedom was something else, something you may not have felt before in that exact particular way. Most of us call that something else “fear.” Fear, I believe, of the unknown.

Strangely enough, that same sensation engulfs me every time my son “graduates” from one school to the next. This past week was no different. Wednesday was my son’s last day of elementary school. He’s moving on. He’ll never walk through the doors of the school we’ve loved for the past four years ever again, and…neither will I. This is, of course, a subtle reminder that I am aging, that he is aging, and that my role as his mother will, once again, change.

Of course, during these times, it’s necessary for me to keep my mind on the beauty of the process. This is my Julian, here, at his preschool graduation. I snapped this picture…then sighed…how is he old enough to graduate???

I remember that day well. It was more of a party, than a ceremony. Julian moved and danced and laughed throughout the whole thing, his messy curls and his big blue eyes searching for me everywhere through my camera lens. And then finally, it was his turn to receive his diploma.

Immediately, shyness took over, his walk hesitant and awkward when stepping onto the bridge he was required to walk over to graduate. But then he caught sight of me sitting in the crowd, and in finding me, he changed. Instantly, the bashfulness was gone, and my little boy stood up tall and bold, grinning proudly at me for yet another picture.

“I feel so weepy,” I remember whispering to my friend and her husband as Julian exited the graduation bridge. “In three months, our kids will be in kindergarten. Aren’t you two sad? Watching your son leave this place?”

“Sad?” the husband had said, scrunching up his eyebrows. “Why would you be sad? You wouldn’t feel sad for a caterpillar that’s turned into a butterfly…would you?”

No…I had to admit…I guess that I wouldn’t.


“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.”

Barbara Haines Howett


To graduates of all sizes and ages…spread your wings and fly!  Your world is just beginning.

Just living is not must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower. ~Hans Christian Andersen

I am a mother, a blogger and the author of the memoir Pitter-Pat: A Mother's Journey from Loss to New Life. I am currently in training to be a life coach through Martha Beck's Wayfinder Life Coach Training Program. I write about grief, love, and the beauty of new beginnings. My other interests are meditating, walking outside and doing pretty much anything that brings me closer to nature.


    June 23, 2018

    Congrats my “little” boy!

  2. June 23, 2018

    So special, where does the time go ! Precious young man !!!

  3. Dawn
    June 23, 2018

    Yup I had that fear my whole senior year…I think that’s when my panic attacks started. Grandpa died that year too. Much going on and sad to say as I’ve tried to remember you during that time, I can’t. Wish I’d have known how hard of a time you were having. Anyway, just want to say that my kids were so excited for kindergarten that I was so excited and happy for them. It was a happy time but also a now what do I do with my life time. Their high school graduation was what got me. I knew life would never be the same. They were leaving me…I bawled all the way home when we took Elizabeth to college and Luke was pushing me away so hard that he barely said goodbye…ouch! You have a long time to go so as they say treasure each moment.Sorry but it goes by very quickly. Love to Julian and congrats young man!

    • awakeningwildflower
      June 23, 2018

      It’s such a universal sensation…that feeling of fear when things “change.” I’m working so hard to embrace change as it comes, to see it as an opportunity to grow and to expand who I am as a person. It’s not easy, but I have to believe it’s worth it.

  4. June 25, 2018

    Thats so beautiful, wow brings me tears! Hugs hugs!

    • awakeningwildflower
      June 25, 2018

      Many hugs back!

  5. June 29, 2018

    Congrats to your son! It always makes me feel a little weepy watching all of my kids move up to new school not because I’m sad but it’s just new❤️

    • awakeningwildflower
      June 30, 2018

      “New” can be hard, can’t it? I’ve always been the person who tries to embrace change with gusto, but when it comes to my child growing up…it can be tough!

  6. July 1, 2018

    We constantly go between wanting our kids stay baby forever and being excited about all of the amazing things they will do in their life…

    • awakeningwildflower
      July 1, 2018

      I know. It’s complicated yet silly at the same time. Change is nothing to fear, it should be celebrated and embraced, because how dull life would be if our children stayed children forever. Thanks for your thoughtful comment…

      • July 1, 2018

        You are welcome…

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