Princess Sprout loves animals. We have no animals but she has been drawn to them from her infancy (wheras Wildman Sprout is a bit terrified of all animals). Last weekend during our trip to Florence, Princess Sprout ever on the search to find herself a pet, found Ali the Lady Bug.
Last fall she found her pet sitting on the side of the trail and carried it with her 3 miles to the car, put it in a jar, and slept with it each night. She fed it, sang to it, let it out of the jar to play, and read to it. She even put the jar to bed and tucked it in under blankets. This pet was a down feather. She had no idea it wasn’t alive – it crawled and flew and did all the things her dream pet should be doing. She named it Neema.
So, Ali was a bit of an improvement over Neema. She rescued it from it’s lonely ladybug existence, and gingerly carried it the 15 minutes it took to go over dunes, driftwood, and rocks to the car. All along, she sang to Ali, talked to Ali, and assured Ali that they would be friends forever.
When we got home, we decided to put it in a jar. Every family must have a moment when they tortue the life out of an innocently existing bug and it was now our turn. Princess sprout brainstormed about what ladybugs eat and decided to put some leaves in there. A little water to drink too. Everything seemed so content and perfect except, the ladybug was drowning and was desperately just wanting an AphidCasserole.
It was at this point that I missed Neema. Neema, the down feather, was not going to die from the innocent torture of a 5 year old but just cheerfully keep floating along despite starvation, lack of oxygen, or too much water. So I broke it to little Princess Sprout. Ali wanted to go back to life the way it was. She would never forget Princess Sprout, we were sure. How could little Ali forget the near drowning and terrifying glass jar? I told Princess Sprout that it was up to her, but it really would be best for Ali to be set free.
To this, her big blue eyes looked up at me and tearfully said, “I’ll let her go mommy. My heart doesn’t want to but my mind says I should.” She sadly walked outside and ceremoniously released her back into the wild, singing to Ali the whole time.
From the mouth of a babe!! How many times I have been at that kind of crossroad!! My heart doesn’t want to but my mind says I should. So much wisdom comes from this little fun-loving Princess Sprout!!