A Butterfly Costume

It is late and I have been thinking. Not a good combination as I am very tired. But I have had so many thoughts racing through my head recently and I thought that if I type, a blog might appear.

So here goes.

Tonight was another disco. This time it was for Jack at his school. A pyjama disco. The pyjamas that Jack really wanted to wear had a massive tear in the knee that just appeared out of nowhere, according to Jack, before we had to leave so I used my amazing sewing skills to repair it 😉 A couple of weeks ago we had a disco to attend for India at her kindy. India enjoyed her disco so much. Jack, well, he enjoyed hanging out with his friends, but isn’t the dancing type. All India wanted to do at her disco was dance with me. I encouraged her to dance with her friends, but she wanted Mummy. So we got out on the dance floor and boogied. She smiled and laughed and twirled and was delighted with it all. “Who Let the Dogs Out” became a hit at home.

I look back at the things that I did as a kid, and one memory sticks out. My first school dance…I forget what grade I was in, maybe 4 or 5. It was a dress up dance or costume party and I was so excited to be going. My Dad was making my outfit….it was a butterfly outfit if I remember correctly. I remember its enormous wings. He spent such a long time getting it made, and being made by my Dad, it was going to be the best darn butterfly outfit he could possibly make, architectually designed and built to last.

I am sure that I was impatient through the whole process. But the outfit was made and the big night was finally here….so much effort put into the evening…not forgetting that I had two other brothers and a sister in tow, who I think were in costumes as well. My parents bundled us all in the car (which I now know as a parent that this is so much more difficult than it just sounded) and drove us to the dance.

I was buzzing.

I remember feeling like such a grown up going out at night to spend time with my friends and see what costumes they were wearing. We arrived, I walked in and my heart sank. My friends were all dressed in beautiful costumes as princesses and fairies. They looked so pretty! All of sudden my young heart and mind actually cared what I looked like. I was such a tomboy and still to this day sometimes it takes effort to dress up and stick on a bit of makeup. But in this moment I felt like I didn’t really fit in with these beautiful costumes my friends had on. I had never felt this way so intensely before. I had never really cared what I wore or how I looked. The night suddenly didn’t seem like so much fun anymore.

I started feeling angry with my Dad, why did he make me this costume? It’s not as pretty as the other costumes! How selfish and stupid I was to think this! I remember the night only got worse as not long into the dance I became really ill and proceeded to throw up everywhere. Mum and Dad bundled us all back into the car and home again. On the car ride home I started feeling sorry. I started wishing I could have changed my attitude. I can’t remember what I had said to my parents and what they said back, but I was reminded how much effort my Dad had put in. I wished I hadn’t felt jealous of my friends and appreciated my Dad more.

Becoming a parent has made me see things the way my parents saw them. Now I look at this story through the eyes of my parents. In my minds eye I can see them thinking “Why did we go tonight? We should have stayed home! She puked everywhere! What were we thinking doing this with four kids?! How can we get this girl to stop being so selfish? Why can’t she see the effort that was put in? Why can’t she see that her costume was one of the best ones there? Why can’t she see her own beauty and be happy in her own skin? How can we show her, teach her, these things?”.

As a parent you do things for your kids because you love them, you would give your own life for them, throw yourself to the wolves if you had too. The power of that love is something that is so great, so intensely strong, so beautiful and so fierce. I am pretty sure my Dad made my outfit because we may not have had the money to go out and buy a costume….or perhaps he wanted the challenge of creating something different for his daughter to wear. He loved building stuff and using his hands. But I know a whole lot of love went into that costume.

Needless to say, I learnt a lot from that dance. A lesson in being thankful, that love was shown from my Dad through creating this costume and not letting jealousy control my heart.

Going to school discos on a freezing cold night may not be the thing that I want to do, as reading a good book in front of the fire is way more appealing sometimes. But for Jack it is an oppurtunity of having shared experiences outside of school that help cement friendships; it is teaching him to become actively involved in his community; going to these things teaches my children that friendships mean putting in effort; teaching them not to be afraid to get out there and try new things, meet new people and have fun with their friends.
This has been my journey also.
I have to be in life to enjoy life. Since moving to Christchurch I have had to get out there and meet new people, something that I have found to be such a hard thing to do in the past, but I am discovering how much fun it is. I am shifting my attitude to view these events such as discos as a great excuse to see other Mums and enjoy their company. The effort to get to these things can sometimes be annoying, but the look of pure delight on my daughters face as we twirl to the music, or my son as he tells me the stories of what he and his friends did instead of dancing, is just delightful. I don’t want my selfishness to get in the way of having a good time. My parents didn’t have to go to my first school dance, they could have decided to stay in, Dad didn’t have to make my costume, but he did and we went and the lessons I learnt from that experience, as hard as they were, were all good for me to learn.

One thought on “A Butterfly Costume

  1. These are beautiful story’s Kerry. It’s crazy how much love you can have for family. You have such beautiful kids. You and Dan are great parents and hopefully by the time it’s my turn you guys will have all the answers I need, cause lets face it, sometimes when it comes from mum and dad it can get annoying that there always right. Haha love you heaps xxxx

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