Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Saving the Butterfly

The dream. The meaning.

I'm straightening my classroom when a student calls my attention to a mason jar filled with water. In it is a butterfly, clearly dying due to being submerged in water.  I stop everything to handle the odd but small situation. When I unscrew the lid and reach in my hand, I pull out not a butterfly, but a palm-sized black dog, gagging on the butterfly stuck in its esophagus. 

I reassure the distressed little pup and the student and commit to doing what I can to save the butterfly. I coax the dog's mouth open. Unable to make any progress and afraid to stick my hand down the throat of a dog, I scoop the poor thing up and rush to the vet.

I recall that this vet will see any patient without an appointment and charges a flat rate of $160. Proud that I have enough money in my savings to swipe without negative repercussions, I move confidently toward the counter.

Then I realize I am about to need the dog's immunizations records. I certainly don't have that, so I prepare to beg forgiveness and just offer the dog's age as the best I can do.  But then I realize I don't know that. Flustered, I take the last step toward the receptionist as I silently reach the conclusion that I don't even know the dog's name.

Dread fills me as I process what hinges on this moment: the life of a butterfly, the comfort of a tiny puppy, the peace of mind of the identifying student. Despair fills me when I comprehend that unless I can provide the basic information to check this dog in, I will be denied access to the help I so desperately need.

This is when I wake up. And as with so many dreams I have, the real meaning is clear. I have been so incredibly stressed lately with a class with so many needs I simply can't meet them all. Additionally, I worry constantly about what impact being separated from their dad is having on my kids. Unsolvable problems with effects rippling into the futures of so many little lives. And though I try, I simply cannot access the basic information necessary to save them from harm. Any of them. And now that distressed little dog's face is emblazoned in my memory. My fears looking back at me through puppy dog eyes. I awake wondering if I could have saved any of them but knowing that at very least, the butterfly was unsavable from the start.