Marlo found a ladybug in the front yard two days ago, and I let her keep it in a jar filled with leaves and twigs on the countertop in the kitchen. This morning it looked a little sluggish and instead of having to explain to her why her beloved ladybug had keeled over and died I decided to save that painful life lesson for another day. Instead I told her we needed to set it free.
“But why?” she asked.
“Remember when you found it? What is the first thing you said to me?”
She smiled and her eyes lit up. “Ladybugsth can fly!”
“Exactly! And this one can’t fly if it’s stuck in this jar.”
I let her “cuddle” it one last time and then we took it outside and set it on the ground next to a bush. She then got down on her knees, leaned over and tried to kiss it, ingesting a mouthful of dirt in the process.
“Bye, ladybug,” she said after wiping her mouth on her sleeve. She waved at it and then reached up to hold my hand. I could feel my heart expanding so wide that it filled every corner of my chest.