When my sister and I were little, it was not uncommon for us to chase down lightening bugs in the summer months. We would build little houses for them, out of jars or plastic containers, catch them, and then basically watch them suffocate in their new “habitats”. Or, we would pull out their little light-up-thingy and then smear it on the sidewalk to watch the concrete glow. (Hey, no one ever said we were humane about our bug hunting.)
Perhaps it’s because I’m usually rushing from one kid activity to the next in the evenings, or just trying to survive until bedtime, but until this week I can not remember ever seeing enough lightening bugs to give my kids a chance to enjoy them. The other night, I realized just how many were floating around our backyard. I made a mental note to share them with the kids, then dragged myself upstairs to bed.
Tonight, while trying to convince the dog to go outside, I noticed them again. This time, I pounced on the opportunity. I yelled to Alex to come out and see. Addie must have sensed something interesting was happening, since Al was supposed to be getting ready for bed yet I just called him outside. Soon, the three of us were creeping through the yard, hunting lightening bugs.
We spent the next ten minutes or so chasing them; I do not recall ever having so much trouble catching them! It was awful; apparently, another downfall to getting older is that your hand-eye coordination, in the dark, diminishes. Al nearly smashed a few in his attempts to catch one, but finally Addie had a new little friend climbing up her arm.
They were completely in awe. We watched the little bug glow, then light up even more, as he crawled around Ad’s hands. The kids giggled, and then Alex asked if he could hold the bug (huge for a kid with sensory issues). We played with the bug for a few more minutes, and then I shooed the kids inside for bed. (No, of course I didn’t show them how you can squish the bugs and make the patio glow!)
The kids have done (and will get to do) many fun things this summer, but it’s these little, quiet moments that I hope will stand out in their favorite memories.