Patience Pays Off

Last week as I was writing about how hard it was to sit and wait for a pupa to get on with it and transform already, the little bugger was probably quietly doing just that. The next morning my husband picked up the bug house that the pupa had been inhabiting and I told him I was wondering if it was still alive. Knowing what he does about all things insect-like, my husband took it over to a bright sunny window and after inspecting it closely said, “The shell looks empty.”

“Empty? It couldn’t be…I just looked at it yesterday!”

He took the lid off the bug house and almost jumped out of his skin when he saw a large dark colored moth hiding upside down on the lid. Suddenly the whole house was in an uproar…right in the middle of our get everyone to school routine.

newly emerged oak moth


I’m not sure who among us was happiest to see the moth emerge. We had been waiting so long. We took a couple of photos to document the occasion and then decided we should put the moth outside in case it wanted to fly away. We found a patch of warm sunshine and watched as it vibrated its wings to dry them off.

Before I was really ready, the moth flew away, to continue the cycle of life.

Practically, the timing of the moth’s emergence couldn’t have been any better. We quickly printed out the photos of the caterpillar, pupa, and moth, and then carefully packaged the remaining shell of the pupa. The child took them to school with her to show all of her friends. Being the penultimate day of school, it was neat that she got to show it to her classmates, and it gave her some extra momentum to carry her through the last hard days of school.

Metaphorically, the occasion gave me a boost, too. I walked home truly pleased with the outcome of our little experiment, and so happy that our patience had paid off. I know some of you are thinking, “What? It’s just a plain old moth…what’s the thrill?” I can’t explain it, but there is joy in caring for and nurturing something so fragile and different from myself. I wasn’t sure we were taking all of the right steps, but in the end there was success, and great joy. I am hoping the lessons I’ve learned in this journey will stick with me for some time to come. I want to watch my own kids “take flight’ each in their own way, and all of the effort and perseverance will pay off. I just know it.

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