Last fall, right before the first killing frost of the season, Ivy found a big, beautiful, bright green praying mantis. I encouraged her to put it in a jar, and bring it to school to show her friends. Mostly, I really wanted to delay it freezing, and thought it would be cool for the kids to see…..I loved to do that as a kid. I even brought a tarantula that my dad found at our Missouri cabin to school in 4th grade. We named it Big Harry Deal, and overwhelmed it with a feast of insects that it didn’t really eat. My teacher took it out and played with it. To be honest, though I loved him, I still found him very scary. I am highly afraid of spiders.
Anyway, when I arrived at Ivy’s school yesterday to see her 3rd grade class’ presentation on “The Ocean,” her teacher brought a familiar looking jar over for me to see. She said “Back in the fall, Ivy’s praying mantis laid eggs, and I took them home and put them on my porch. This week the eggs finally hatched, and here are the babies.”
They moved fairly slow, and were seeking food, a few had died. Of course, nothing that the kids could catch for them would work, because the food was larger than the babies; so the teacher was sending them home. They were going to be returning to the place their mom had come from, starting a whole new cycle of life.
We released the babies in the garden, right next to some aphids…and they attempted to catch some right away. I loved the time with my littlest, enjoying nature’s little miracles. She loved them so, and would give them kisses. I thought that was terribly sweet.
I also thought of Charlotte’s Web, and how a loving mama died, never getting to know her babies, but left them behind to explore and carry on in her place….(and in this case) ridding my garden of plant-destroying pests. Good mothers are truly selfless, even in nature, and that’s a good lesson to me. Mamas of all kinds love their children without ever knowing what they will become, because a parent’s love doesn’t have boundaries or timelines. Life is simply about loving and living on faith, and it can surprise you with hundreds of little miracles.