We've been raising butterflies from caterpillars again this year, and today was release day! Peter has been so excited to watch the caterpillars grow from tiny skinny caterpillars to big fat hairy caterpillars, and to change into chrysalises before emerging as butterflies. He knows the butterfly lifecycle well as butterflies are a special interest of his and we have several books on the subject.
We gathered up Russell and his ventilator, and everyone went outside into the garden for the big release. Last year when we did this Peter sat up on his garden slide to get a better view so this year he was adamant that nowhere else would do, and he needed to sit up on the slide again. Unfortunately none of the butterflies wanted to land on Peter's hand, so we didn't get the lovely photos we'd hoped for, but it was wonderful to see all four of them fly away to start their adventures and hopefully lay eggs of their own.
The butterflies were content and happy in their little habitat on top of our fishtank - they had everything they needed to grow, they were safe and well cared for and they weren't missing the world outside because they didn't know it existed. The metaphor of being raised in a small space and not knowing any different, and then one day being released into the big wide world wasn't lost on us, and it's one we'll perhaps share with Russell as he grows up and starts asking questions about his babyhood and long hospital stay. He's loving his newfound freedom and is grasping every opportunity that comes his way, as I expect our four little butterflies are too!