Thad and four-year-old Blair traipsed around in the twilight two nights ago, catching fireflies in a mason jar.
It was very cute.
It was so cute, in fact, that I decided not to be a firefly-party-pooper and point out that the breathing holes Thad had hammered through the metal cap on the jar seemed rather large.
It was a huge accomplishment for me to restrain from being a firefly-party-pooper since, when it comes to Thad’s initiatives with the kids, I am often a pooper—a chocolate-chips-for-breakfast-pooper, or another-new-outfit-from-Target-pooper, a teach-them-all-the-lyrics-to-For-Those-About-To-Rock-We-Salute-You-pooper. Don’t be a pooper, I said to myself, as Thad and Blair and I sat on her bed, in the dark, and watched the 10 fireflies they caught light up their little firefly butts. Blair wanted to sleep with the firefly jar. We compromised by setting it on her dresser.
“You two were sweet to put the blades of grass in there,” I said, noticing that there were some really tiny fireflies in that jar. Like, really tiny. And thin. And agile. Likely a special species of contortionist fireflies that can wiggle through small spaces in the dark of night. Don’t be a pooper.
Of course, the next morning, Thad had already left for work when Blair started yelling. Screaming. Like she was under attack. I ran down the hall, burst through the door into her room, and found her with her head under her rainbow kitty pillow. I was not surprised to see the firefly on her ceiling, the firefly on her wall, and the firefly clutching to the inside of the pink canopy netting surrounding her bed. There were three fireflies still in the jar.
This left four fireflies unaccounted for. I immediately felt itchy.
“Get them, mommy,” Blair said. “Get them!” She wasn’t afraid, she explained. She was simply concerned that they’d been separated from their firefly mommy who, she said, was still in the firefly jar. I, on the other hand, was very much afraid. I did not want to touch them. But, in this new anti-pooper phase of motherhood I'd entered, I didn’t want Blair to know I didn’t want to touch them. I wanted her to see that I thought fireflies roaming free in our home was the coolest thing since teaching her how to hold down her middle and ring finger with her thumb and shout, "Rock on!"
Which became less convincing when the firefly on the wall took off and buzzed by my head, causing me to squeal and flail and clap my hands over my ears to, presumably, protect my brain from being invaded.
“What’s wrong mommy?” Blair asked.
Your father made the holes too big and now there are bugs loose in the house, hiding in corners, waiting to attack us because they are SO pissed that they had to spend the night in a glass jar with a blade of grass and they’re probably going to summon all their firefly friends to suicide-bomb the screen door so we’ll never be able to leave the house again, ever!
“Nothing’s wrong, sweetie,” I said instead, as calm and non-pooperly as I could. “Nothing at all.”