Thursday, February 25, 2010

F is for Fireflies

I'm sorry. I sat down to write this post with something else in mind and this is what came out. So I am leaving it. It does contain a PKW (possible kleenex warning)
Do you know the song "If Heaven" by Andy Griggs?

It is a lovely, sentimental song. If you haven't heard it is number 6 on my usual playlist which will be back up again tomorrow.

Part of the lyrics are:

If heaven was an hour, it would be twilight
When the fireflies start their dancing on the lawn
And suppers on the stove and mammas laughing
And everybodys working day is done


I cannot hear this song without being transported back to the enchanting years when my children were small.

I hear their laughter ringing out clearly through the dark night in excitement as they chased the elusive flickers through the velvet-soft, evening-damp grass.

I feel their joy in holding a twinkling bit of magic in their small hands for a moment.

I see their three little blonde heads bowed together in harmonious awe and wonder.

And I cannot hear this song without remembering catching fireflies with my own sisters.

These memories are as tangible to me as the keyboard I am typing this on.

I can close my eyes and capture that scent of mowed grass with just the smallest hint of fleeting time whispering around the edges of the memory.

I think of so many children today and I am saddened.

Where are their fireflies?

Who do these children grow up to be when their childhood is forfeited in pursuit of their parents desire for more money and bigger houses and always more stuff?

Where do these children learn their value of self when their parents cannot pull themselves away from their cellphones, PDA's and internet games to share a sorrow or a joy, to read a book, or to soothe a nightmare?

How do these children become caring and compassionate adults when they are raised without kindness and imagination and someone willing to kiss their boo-boos and nurse their sicknesses?

When will these children learn about humanity and the art of giving when they are surrounded by nothing but the selfish pursuit of self-interest?

At the preschool and the school I see so many children just looking lost.

Their eyes are sad.

And much too old.

They are already tired before they have even begun.

And I sit and listen to that song and I send up a simple wish along with my tears.

That these children with lost eyes and bruised hearts can somehow, someway find a firefly to hold in their hand.

This post is linked to Alphabe-Thursday.

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58 comments:

Linda said...

Jenny my dear friend. I could not agree more! I sacrificed to stay home with my children when they were young. I know some families feel that both parents must work, but in the pursuit of what? I lived simply, bought only what was necessary and lived a rich life..why? because I was there for my children. Yep, we chased and caught fireflies and I wouldn't trade it for all the money in the world.

Mildred said...

A very heart-warming post. I remember playing in the yard til dark and chasing fireflies with my sister and friends. Such simple times and fond memories. Hope you have a lovely afternoon.

Debbie said...

Jenny what a touching thought. When I was a kid we used to chase them on the lawn for as long as they where out flickering. My boys never saw a firefly til we moved to the Carolinas. I will never forget my husband and I sitting on the porch and watching them run around with laughter and joy as they never experience this. They still love to see them and I am so happy they have gotten that experience! Great thoughts Jenny!

5thsister said...

You touched a chord with me. When I was a child we would stay out, late into the evening hunting fireflies. It was a game to see who could gather the most and then we'd squeal with delight as we released them into the night. Now, I just don't see as many fireflies anymore. Maybe that's an analogy of what our society has become. Very sad and sorrowful indeed.

May God bless those broken children you wrote of!

Megan said...

This very subject has brought me to tears many times. I have several friends who either can not or are having extreme difficulty getting pregnant and yet there are so many babies out there that are neglected and un-loved.

I have wonderful memories of chasing fireflies! And I absolutely can not wait to do it with Q-Tip! :-)

My name is PJ. said...

The song lyrics paint a delicious picture. I'll have to listen to it through when you have your regular list back up. I usually blog on mute because I'm easily distracted ('there goes another chicken!') and I want to read for total comprehension.

Let me take a stab at the glass being half-full: Hope. Faith. Two little words with big play in them.

There have always been sad,lonely, lost, old-before-their-time little souls. They don't all remain as such.

There have always been overworked, overwrought, over committed parents. They've ranged from busy to neglectful to abusive.

The opportunity to 'catch fireflies' doesn't present itself at the same time for each of us, but it does, more often than not, present itself.

Sometimes, the longer you live before you catch something, the more it means.

I turned out okay. How about you?

Flat Creek Farm said...

So bittersweet! I agree, and it saddens me when I truly think about it. I love that song also :) Great post. -Tammy

Paula said...

aw Jenny...you are so right. PJ and I were just talking about what a scary time to have and raise children...you've hit on one of the biggest reasons.
smile:)

Sheila said...

This strikes home to mose everyone. Playing in the backyard after dark catching those fireflies was a magic time in our lives. You gave us back a time in our past that i am sure we all relive with our own children and grandchildren.. thanks

laterg8r said...

so sad today!

Jo said...

I have never seen a firefly (but we have the usual crickets & butterfly & salamaders etc) but i completely relate ... my dd used to work in daycare ... there are some sad stories out there ... i am just thankful i got to be a care free kid and was able to provide that for dd as well.

Amanda said...

Jenny, I so agree with you! How many times do we see a mom or dad driving with their child in the passenger seat, and, instead of taking advantage of the opportunity to connect with their child, they are talking on their cell? We see parents taking walks "with" their kids, while talking on the phone or checking email! As a new empty nester, I want to shake these parents, and remind them that these magic years fly past us in the blink of an eye....

Theresa said...

I have distinct childhood memories of fireflies. We would go to Church and when we got home, we would all sit under the big oak tree. Us kids would chase the fireflies, just as you described and it is a special memory to me. Now my grandkids do the same thing and I get to share my childhood story with them:) Have a blessed day and we'll all pray for all the little children that are sad!

easternsparkle said...

Lovely sentiments Jenny - and so true!

Riet said...

What a beautiful post. We often say to each other it seems like everything in the world is more important than raising and loving their children.

The Muse said...

ms jenny...i noted this summer, as i sat upon my cottage porch...that i had found the dwindling fireflies within the field to be most disconcerting. and proceeded to ponder the days of my youth...in which they seemed bountiful.

your post brings all those thoughts full circle...entangling the lines of youth and innocence...with the loss of what should be, to what is...and sadly so.

i strive to create a fantasy land of joy for my grand-children...evoking the grandiose and magical aspect of childhood. i did this for my children...and i can see it made them better adults...and better parents.

your gentle, softly spoken wish, for every child to hold a firefly...is so powerful...

i envision cupped little hands...trembling with glee...and eyes mirroring the glow of that little firefly...innocence, personified.

Red Couch Recipes said...

Hi, this is my first "trip" to Alphabe-Thursday! Your schoolmarm picture is a crack-up! I loved your post and will check out the song. I will be back! Thanks!

LuLu Kellogg said...

You were right, this was a PKW...you really have a way with words. How very touching and lovely this post was. *wiping my eyes*

LuLu♥

Cindy (Letters From Midlife) said...

I've been so blessed to be able to be a mom at home for 28 years. My youngest is about to turn 16 and in some ways I need to be here more than ever because boys that age are inclined to mischief and need supervising!

I have a lot of fond memories of catching fireflies in jars both when I was a child and when my kids were little.

Cindy (Letters From Midlife) said...

I've been so blessed to be able to be a mom at home for 28 years. My youngest is about to turn 16 and in some ways I need to be here more than ever because boys that age are inclined to mischief and need supervising!

I have a lot of fond memories of catching fireflies in jars both when I was a child and when my kids were little.

My Grama's Soul said...

Oh Jenny.......what a touching post you have done today.

You know, I really do believe we were raised in the best of times. When kick-the-can and fireflies were in vogue and not texting and twittering.

I, too, am sad for todays children.....let's each of us share our memories with them when we can.

Blessings,

Jo

Cindy (Letters From Midlife) said...

I've been so blessed to be able to be a mom at home for 28 years. My youngest is about to turn 16 and in some ways I need to be here more than ever because boys that age are inclined to mischief and need supervising!

I have a lot of fond memories of catching fireflies in jars both when I was a child and when my kids were little.

Aunt Amelia's Attic said...

This definitely needed a PKW. :-)

Sarah said...

Jenny, oh how this brought back sweet memories of my own childhood. Yes,yes! My sister and brother and I would capture those little lights and put them in an old mason jar. Then we could watch them twinkle as they buzzed about. Like you, I worry that too many children don't truly have a playful childhood in these days of extra activities and technology. Children need carefree creative times to balance their lives.
Thanks for sharing these heartfelt words.

Deb said...

thanks for the warning....I love fireflies...don't see many of them these days...every now and then at the lake...

Catherine said...

We love catching fireflies here :) . Such truth to these words, dear lady. Those of us who can need to reach out to these children and bring a little joy to their lives :) .

Karen said...

Jenny, Thank you for a heartfelt post. I remember as a child when almost everyone's mother was a stay-at-home Mom. Now it seems harder for parents to spend time with their children. I do not miss the "things" I did without as a young stay-at-home Mother, but I sure do treasure the memories. I made mistakes, but at least it was ME making them, not a stranger.

I would like the link to the site about Down syndrome that you mentioned. Thank you for visiting my new blog.

Betty (picture circa 1951) said...

I always think it's kind of sad when I see a mother shopping with her child and the whole time she's talking on the cell phone Meanwhile, the child just sits there in the cart with a bored look. I also remember all the games we used to play while riding in the car. Who can be first to spot a red car or a moving truck, etc. Now they're watcing movies and don't even know what they're passing. And as for fire flies...I never see them here. I've been told that people use too many insectisides.

mbkatc230 said...

What a beautiful post Jenny. This brought back so many memories. I did have to work, but was lucky enough to arrange my schedule so that I was home in the afternoons. And we made sure that Cait had a fun, carefree childhood. Trips to the beach, and to visit family, and yes - catching fireflies. And when we were home, we were THERE. I'll never forget one of Cait's teachers telling me that he was so impressed that we had dinner, as a family, every night. I thought it was so sad that he found this exceptional! Thanks for bringing back so many fond memories. Now I have to go find some kleenex.... Kathy

LV said...

Beautiful blog and very fitting words. You do so well with the alphabet feature. Thanks for your visit and invitation to join you. My plate is pretty full right now, but will give it serious consideration.

Brenda said...

Ok, you almost made me cry. Very thought provoking post. I remember chasing the fireflies with my siblings also. We would put them in empty peanut butter jars with holes poked in them. Then we would leave the jars in the playhouse window so we could see them when we had to go in for the night. I think of my grand daughters and my youngest daughter who is a single parent. And how she does not have much and is always trying to think of something to do special with her two young daughters. And I think of my middle daughter that has four sons and has a hard time giving each some of her time. And then there is myself and hubs who provide as much fun outdoors time for all of them that we can here in our spot in the woods. Like I said you post made me think. Sorry such a long comment.

Mumsy said...

This is a beautiful post, Jenny! I volunteer in my son's school, and have seen those children, those sad eyes, those tiring children that you've mentioned here!

bennie and patsy said...

Thanks for the visit and comment. You did a great post today.
Patsy

Julie Schuler said...

I sacrificed my employment to be there for my kids full-time. Read all the books, kiss all the boo-boos, catch all the fireflies, and save the little buggers from getting smeared across the sidewalk. Admittedly, this employment thing has come back to bite me in the a$$, but I don't regret all the time I've spent with the children. Someone needs to humanize the little demons.

Busy Bee Suz said...

This is beautiful Jenny. I agree with you so much. I see so many parents that have thier kids so overscheduled with activities that they never have free time at home...chill time in the yard.
That is one thing I have no regrets on, I made the kids the priority and we played, read and did nothing and had fun.

I thought you were going elsewhere with the fireflies...my Mom told me as a kid they would catch them and pull off their lil' lights and make earrings and such. She was such a tomboy! :0

Anything Fits a Naked Man said...

I know what you mean about those poor children who will never know the magic of a firefly, it just can't be bought!

I've just moved back up north after living in Florida for the last 16 years. They don't have fireflies in Florida, did you know that? Last summer, our first since moving back up here, we were sitting on our back deck when I saw the fireflies appear, it literally made me cry! I missed them!

Old Kitty said...

Hi

I just popped over to say hello.

This is such a lovely piece. I also hope that any child with a bruised heart and lost eyes will find their own little firefly.

Take care
x

lissa said...

childhood, they go really fast but it's still nice to have some memories of it, I never actually saw a firefly in person before but I imagine them to be wonderful creatures that somehow transport one's mind to a simpler time, plus I like anything that can fly

mrs. c said...

You are so right my friend! I teach at-risk 4 year olds in a state-funded pre-k and I feel as though I am there because God needs me to be. I am late in reading my posts because I have been at the hospital for the last 2 hours with one of my students that is ill and they can't seem to find out what is wrong. I write this not to get attention but to show you that there are people who care...that is how I am and that is why I do what I do.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I'm happy that there were no distractions like computers and cell phones and 24 hour cable TV when I was raising my children. They were active in sports and girl and boy scouts and my husband and I were their coaches and den leaders. We would read books together and visit museums. I knew those years would go by quickly and I savored every moment.

Sometimes when families are overwhelemd it's good for someone to offer help...amybe invite that sad eyed child to come over with your grandchild for a play date and give them some special attention?

Nice post Jenny!

Ms Sparrow said...

I remember the excitement of swarms of fireflies when I was a child. Last summer I saw only one.
I can't help wondering if the climate changes aren't driving them away to other habitats.

Viki said...

I loved fireflies when I was a kid. We used to catch them too when my son was little. It's terrible but I remember some friends stepping on them, yuck.

Annesphamily said...

Clever post with a lovely message! Thank you for Alphabet Thursday.

Steph said...

What a tender and thought-full post. And you're right. I am with you dancing on that summer eve lawn. Unfortunately, I'm afraid I may also be one of those selfish ones. But our children are our dear and precious treasures as well as our investment in the future.

Justine said...

Well, this was deeply touching, but now you've got me all depressed before 8 a.m.!

It's true though... there are so many kids that seem to be getting left behind by the corporate moms and dads whose lives revolve around that next promotion, rather than their childrens' next accomplishment.

I'm definitely guilty of the whole hooked into the computer games thing, but at least I'm here, I'm present and always (okay, usually) willing to flip the laptop cover down to listen.

Justine :o )

Martha said...

You weren't kidding it was a tear jerker...indeed...that was just BEAUTIFUL...simply beautiful...

♥Georgie♥ said...

this was such a lovely post...I too have sacrificed to be a sahm and my kiddos are now teens but i feel it is still important that i am home everyday after school for them...

amelia said...

Lovely post! It wasn't electronics but being a single mum with three kids to care for that kept me from being the mother I would have wished. I had no child support and had to work long, long hours to make ends meet.
My kids always knew they were loved and now I'm lucky enough to stay home. Although we live five hours from them, I talk on the phone every day and visit often!!

Pondside said...

I was lucky enough to be able to stay at home with my children - it was a challenge, and we had to be very, very creative, but we did it. Our son, when his first child was born told us how lucky he was that he could be home with his mother. When his wife had an opportunity to study for four years they made the decision that he would stay home with the boys. They sacrifice a great deal, but it's for such a short time and the payoff is enormous - all those firefly moments!

The Wilson's said...

Mom - what a great post! I remember catching fireflies in Ohio and the Canadian Geese that would be in the cornfields honking the day away! Its sad that some parents take for granted the gift that was given them. As someone who has not been able to get pregnant it is sad to watch others dwindle away the precious years they will never get back once the kids leave the nest. To see a parent not care when their children are sick, tired and running around in shoes that are too small and clothes that are ripped while they themselves have top of the line clothes and toys is very upsetting and hard to understand and relate too. Thanks for all the great memories Mom, I can honestly say my childhood was a happy one because of you and your creativity, imagination and never-ending love and support! Love ya!

GardenofDaisies said...

The fireflies are alive and well here. We have them all over our yard on summer evenings.

Sometimes luck plays into the decision to stay home and sometimes it is just a matter of setting priorities and being willing to do without some things for a while. Obviously a single Mom is not going to have that same choice and this is where it is so important for extended family and community to help out.

My husband and I decided our children were more important than money and "stuff", so I quilt my job and stayed home. We lived in a tiny little house and we only had 1 car. We went to stay with relatives or went on local "discovery" outings instead of going on fancy vacations. We very rarely ate out. We didn't even try to pretend that we were keeping up with the Joneses. We stuck to our budget and made it all work. (something the government should try?) I rocked my kids to sleep at nap time. I read them hundreds of stories. I watched them build marvelous towers with legos. I watched them take their first steps and heard them say their first words. I watched them run in the grass. I gave them their baths after they played in the mud. I can't imagine handing all those opportunities over to someone else.

I watched all my peers put their children into daycare centers and go off to work. And I knew that I was the lucky one.

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

I couldn't agree with you more. I grew up playing, as did my kids. They had a little "stuff" but they still entertained themselves, read books, played outside with neighbor kids...now it is all play dates and organized sports starting almost at birth. It breaks my heart. Joy is in the simple things.

All My Yesterdays said...

Just got here Jenny...awesome..
I never saw fireflies (they don't live in the Rockies)till I was in my 30's and went to Indiana for a day. We were in a field and around dusk I saw these twinkling things by a fence, asked what it was and then sat there in awe remembering reading about them in a book. PJ and others are right though. We all find our own fireflies someday...
Thanks for *linking* me up the right way!

Amy said...

Fireflys are amazing.

Cynthia said...

Ah, hindsight is 20/20 and I'm ashamed to say I wasn't a perfect mother.

But, people today seem so shortsighted. I just spent a week nannying for 3 sweet boys, all drugged by their parents, instead of disciplining them. They pay a nanny for 58 hours a week, while the dad is off Mon-Wed, and the mom is off Fri. She had me come so she could go to the gym and shop and do lunch. The dad spent his days off with friends, riding his Harley.

While I miss the days my kids were young, so we cook bake cookies again and go to the park, they are wasting time they won't get back.

So sad.

gayle said...

I agree with you and I love your daughters comment!! I worry about this with my grandson b/c his parents both have to work!! I will have to remember to show him the fire flies!!

Melinda Cornish said...

awwwww, this IS sad...all I can say is thank goodness for grandmas.......we can love em the old fashioned way!

Loagan Ranch said...

Jenny, one of my favorite songs is 'If Heaven' reminds me of our short stint in Oklahoma catching fireflies with Matt and the girls. :)