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When God gave me my little butterfly after my buffaloes, I remember thinking, Really? You think I can raise a daughter?!
Every book I read, I relate more to the men’s side. I am from Mars. (Women are supposed to be from Venus.) I am more like waffles. (Women are supposed to be like spaghetti.) And I am a buffalo. God gave me a butterfly?
Butterflies are beautiful! They pollinate the flowers, spreading the beauty. Of course, to my disdain, they’re dainty and stop flying at the slightest little offense. Christine (now eight-years-old) fits the bill! She told me just last week, “Mommy, you should try a brighter lipstick. It would bring out your eyes.” She has rarely worn anything but a dress because it’s all about “the look,” something I have yet to get—as she has pointed out.
Once when she was three, I took her to a nail salon (her dream!). She asked if she could sing for the lady next to us. She went from woman to woman, “pollinating” the entire waiting room. The smiles were multiplying! But a little dust off her wing, and she is down for the count. My favorite was the night she woke me wailing from the top of the stairs, “Mommy! I have music in my no…oh…oh…oh…ose!” [her nose!]
She had the sniffles. (I think she meant to say “mucus.”)
Buffaloes, on the other hand, are tough-skinned, hard to pierce. They can carry a load like no other. Unfortunately, like a bull in a china shop, they can do damage simply by walking, unaware of the trail of destruction behind them. As a tomboy child, I braved the mean dogs by feeding them live locusts to keep my fearful brothers safe. Seriously. The buffalo in me wore an imaginary badge that said, “You can’t hurt me.” When in pain, I figured it was weakness that didn’t need to be shown! I protected myself with a coat of humor, which hurt everyone around me, breaking the dainty down, one by one, without my noticing! I shudder to think of the more recent times when my daughter waited by the door for my return, holding her beautifully hand-made picture so she could make a glorious presentation, but I, unknowingly, charged past and asked, “Who made this mess?!”
While admiring my butterfly grown-up girlfriends’ “pollinating” smiles and friends surrounding them, I really wanted that. Rather than looking down on them, maybe I needed to recognize their strengths and emulate them!
When dealing with relationship problems, I began to see some of my buffalo weaknesses. Maybe instead of blaming others for being so sensitive, I needed to gain some of their ability to sense! By saying, “You can’t hurt me,” I was really saying, “You can’t know me,” too. Praying the Lord would reveal my blind spots to me, I was able see a glimpse of how I was hurting others, and I finally was hurting myself. (I felt it!) No polishing occurs without friction, and thanks to that friction within, my buffalo was beginning a kind of metamorphosis.
Now, I have come to the conclusion, that to have friends and keep friends, butterfly qualities of flying high and “pollinating” must be respected and emulated! Yet, to accomplish anything with excellence, the buffalo’s strengths of load-carrying and tough skin are required. Respectful of the strengths of both, I am able to become all God created me to be…in essence, a Buffafly.