I am so honored to share this post with you. My good friend Heather agreed to guest post this while I'm on vacation, and you'll be so glad she did. It's amazing. Please visit her and give her lots of love!
I sat outside last night, and the strongest feeling of nostalgia came over me as I saw two little girls running, catching fireflies. Giggling, chasing each other around as their little sundresses fluttered in the light summer breeeze, their curls bouncing behind them, I was taken back to one summer of my childhood…
“Why?” she asked, as she turned around from the stove, the aroma of blueberry pie wafting throughout the house.
“Cause Courtney and I are chasing flireflies and I wanna catch ‘em, ” I said, tapping my feet impatiently. At 7 years old, fireflies were the essence of magic. The glow could mean the most important wishes could come true, once fireflies were caught, according to my best friend Courtney, and I had plenty of wishes that needed to come true.
“I don’t have any jars, hon. Will this work?” she asked, handing me an old cottage cheese container.
“You can poke holes in the top, so they can breathe,” she said, seeing the frown appear on my face, and knowing the question that was forming on my lips.
“Okay, thanks Mo-” I said, the screen door slamming as I ran out the door, and onto the sprawling golf course to catch up with my best friend who was patiently waiting for me.
We started to run together, holding hands, laughing and giggling as the sky streaked with violet and blue in the background, the cool grass tickling my bare feet, the back of my sundress hitting my knees, as I ran in circles trying to catch each flickering firefly, every last one for every last wish in my head.
“Courtney, how many are we supposed to catch?” I said, as I stopped, and waited for her guidance since she was, afterall, the expert at firefly catching.
“As many as you need to make all of your wishes come true, I have plenty,” she said as she plopped down on the hill a few feet in front of me. I ran over to her, carefully holding my makeshift firefly holder, and sat down next to her.
“Okay, so here’s what you do,” she said, with a bossy tone, “you make a wish and let each one go. You only keep one, and then in the morning if it’s dead, then none of your wishes will come true. If it stays alive, then all of your wishes will come true. So I’ll do mine first, ‘kay,?”
“Okay,” I said, quietly. I listened to her make her wishes, and thought pensively about mine. Most 7 year olds wanted a new bike, a pretty doll, or a new playhouse. Courtney wished for a mom that stopped drinking “Mommy juice” all the time. She wanted a Mommy that would play with her.
I set my firefly container down and held her hand tight as we let each one of her flireflies go, hoping and praying with everything we had, that something would change.
“Your turn,” Courtney said, quickly, as she shut her container, one lonely firefly left to glow on it’s own.
“I wish, ” I started softly, as I felt the tears start to well up in my eyes, “I wish for no more yelling. I wish that my Mommy would stop yelling at me. That Kevin would stop yelling at me. That he wouldn’t love Todd more than me. That I could be good at something. That I am not a bad kid anymore, that I wouldn’t be in trouble all the time, that I would..” I stopped, sniffling, and squeezing my eyes shut.
“That I would be good enough..” I said whispering, clutching Courtney’s hand. I pulled the top off of my container, and let the fireflies go one by one. And then, after closing the container, Courtney and I leaned back on the hill to watch the sky fade to a deep shade of midnight blue. Finally, after what seemed like ages, we both sat up.
“We can’t tell anyone about these wishes,” she said, with a serious tone. I agreed, we pinkie swore, got up and walked home.
That night, after I ate a slice of blueberry pie while getting lectured about the grass stains on my sundress, I poked holes in my container, set it in my windowsill and went to bed. I woke up the next morning, and quickly checked my container.
My firefly was dead.
I called Courtney in tears. Hers was dead too.
I have never eaten a piece of blueberry pie or caught fireflies since.
I have never wished on anything since that night either. At 7 years old, I stopped believing in wishes.
Tonight, I think, after the sky darkens, and the pace slows down, I will come outside, and I will chase a few fireflies. Then I will sit on my front porch with a glass of sweet tea, and I will wrap my fingers up in Curt’s. I will admire my engagement ring on my finger. I will look at our hands intertwined. I will watch those two neighbor girls chase fireflies, and I will wonder if they are making wishes like I did at 7 years old, or if they are wishing for barbies and baby dolls.
And next weekend, for our 4th of July barbeque?
I will tackle making a blueberry pie from scratch.
Author's note: "i wrote this post on my old blog, singing with my heart, and thought it was appropriate to share again, after i danced in the moonlight and caught fireflies tonight. you’ll be happy to know that i wish on them, and can bake a pretty decent blueberry pie now. but every time i see a firefly, i have to swallow the lump in my throat as the memories come flooding back.
Thank you, Heather. I don't know that I'll ever look at fireflys the same again. XOXO