“Come see! Come see!” Whenever my five-year-old sister has something to show me, odds are it is something bizarre or not particularly interesting. Usually, these moments come when I’m occupied with something else, like having a conversation or eating my dinner. Seeing as how she is my sister, after all, I usually follow. So on Father’s Day, when she beckoned me over to the plastic container sitting out on the patio, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. You see, when you combine my little sister’s enthusiasm with my dad’s bizarreness, you can get strange things, like a cup full of snails for the pond or strawberry and rhubarb jam that looks like snot.
I still have memories of when my dad and I were the ones getting into weird stuff. The tray of tadpoles in the mud room waiting to turn into frogs, the cattails from a creek that exploded while in the car to fill it with snowy white seeds…all these experiences meant that when I looked into the plastic tub and saw strange brown shapes I wasn’t surprised. Cocoons, I figured, and I tried to look enthusiastic. Of course, my faked enthusiasm quickly became real when it turned out that the cocoons had hatched…and the hatchlings were tiny baby praying mantises.
There is magic outside, and as an adult who has an indoor job and an indoor life, I forget that sometimes. It’s nice to have a child around to remind me of that. And plus, tiny praying mantises are the most amazing things I’ve seen in a long time. What are some of the coolest things children have shown you, lately?