No, not the ones you feel in your stomach at the start of a new relationship or before an important presentation. I mean the ones in nature. Butterflies flutter along gracefully and almost as if they were performing an intricate dance with the wind. These graceful creatures have always been fascinating to me. But they also hold very special meaning to me.

When I was little I was very close to my grandparents. I was fortunate enough to live right next door and one block away from both sets. My mom’s parents lived right next door to us & they had two huge gardens in their backyard. I’d spend hours in the summer helping them with their garden by pulling up turnips or helping them water it. But if a butterfly would fly by as I was helping them I’d wander off and try to chase after it in hopes of catching it.

My dad’s parents lived a block north of us and every summer from 1989 to 1994 we’d go camping with them. We’d go to Tennessee and stay at the KOA campground in Pigeon Forge. While there we’d go to Dollywood and spend nearly every day shopping, eating, or going to the shows. The W in the Dollywood logo is of a butterfly & that’s because Dolly loves butterflies. For several years the building you had to walk through to exit the park had a butterfly emporium. When you walked in you were in this mini-garden that had butterflies everywhere. If you were really lucky one would land on you. Little me could never understand why these butterflies would land on me, but not the ones in Mam and Pap G’s garden.

The Butterfly Emporium

Those days are now gone and I only have one grandmother (Mom’s mom). Last December I walked into our front office to find a colleague and the principal discussing tattoos. They were going that weekend to get new ones. They were trying to figure out if anyone else from our school wanted to go. They already had a group of 3. Before I could change my mind I told them I would go with them. They asked what I would get and I only had to think for a fraction of a second. A monarch butterfly. When I was asked why I told them because it would be in memory of Mam & Pap B and Pap G. Two days later the tattoo was mine and I loved how it turned out. Because of that tattoo I found a little more of myself.

A part of me still can’t believe this happened.

6 thoughts on “Butterflies

  1. What a beautiful story and a beautiful tattoo! A great way to honor your grandparents!

    (As a side note, my college roommate lived near Pigeon Forge and worked at Dollywood in high school–small world!)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Butterflies are a special kind of creature. The intellectual side of my brain says they’re just another kind of insect (as if an insect is something to be taken for granted!), but the heart side says they’re more than just that. Thanks for sharing your memory!


  3. What a beautiful piece of art you now wear! I hope it brings you the joy of the memories you shared with us in writing, every time you look at it. Must have been the week for ink…I just got my third tattoo yesterday!


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