On our last day of our time away, on our very last walk along the shore, I looked down at the sandy ground beneath us and I saw butterflies.
Butterflies everywhere. And so, I pulled out my phone and I started snapping.
Can you see them? Can you see the butterflies?
Now I realize - of course - that these are not real butterflies. They are shells that look like butterflies. At least to my butterfly crazed mind.
(Remember this? My symbol of happiness and love?)
Shells that have been battered by the ocean, thrown up onto land by the crashing waves. Or the gentle tide, as the case may be. No longer able to protect the living creatures that once depended on them for shelter.
Left to be stepped on or swallowed back up by the water. Or admired by someone like me.
Many were amazingly intact considering what they'd been through. They looked like they could pick up and fly away. Catching the next breeze to find another place to play.
But others were broken. Smashed. Barely recognizable as what they once were. Once a haven for a creature, now lying helplessly on the sand, waiting to be ground back down into sand themselves.
But they were my favourite. The most delicate. The fairest. The daintiest. The sweetest.
The most poignant.
They made me think of Finleigh and her clipped wings. She can flutter about. She flaps those little wings of hers as hard as she can, but too often she is grounded. Will she really ever be able to soar? Truly fly? Catch the wind and glide over everything, like most of us get to do from time to time?
Will she ever have the freedom to become what she desires? Will she ever have those skills?
They made me think of me. And how broken I feel sometimes. Battered by the life that I have. Still happy. Still loved. But a little less free. Not quite able to grasp that freedom that I long for now that I must protect my little wing-clipped butterfly.
And yet, despite the challenges. The clipped freedom. She is still my little butterfly. My little love who brings me happiness in between the frustration and love in between the tears.