On Saturday, we celebrated our cousin’s 3rd birthday. There was a fabulous face-painting clown there ready to create works of art on the faces of all the small cherubs. The littles waited patiently in line for their turn. Mostly boys, each one chose a fierce version of a superhero – Batman (several chose him), Spiderman, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk…the list went on and on. Each girl chose some variation of a butterfly – complete with glitter and swirly lines.
Charlie stepped up and began to get his face painted. A friend motioned to me that he was choosing a butterfly and I was immediately seized with worry about what some others might say since he was the lone boy that hadn’t picked something “manly.”
When finished, his face was beautiful! Complete with “tribal lines” per the clown who understood his bold choice, my little butterfly was so delighted! He ran around showing everyone his face and proudly stood for pictures.
I could have interjected and asked him to pick something else. I could have pleaded with him about any number of other options, but instead, he chose what he wanted without hesitation. When I had a moment to talk with him, I asked him why he picked a butterfly. Without missing a beat, he said, “Because they are B-YOOOOOOOO-ti-ful, Mommy!” And my heart instantly melted.
Some day, when he’s in school, I want to remind him about what it means to be different. I hope and pray that his sincere heart can withstand the opinions of others. That he won’t seek to go with the crowd just because.
On Sunday, we went to a birthday party and Charlie was the first one on stage dancing. He was soon joined by other four and five-year-olds and I couldn’t help but see just how little inhibition these kids had. I wondered about when that changed and wished that it would stay with them just a bit longer. Kids nowadays grow up too soon and one day, I’ll long for his simple choice of a butterfly.