Home > Books, Family > Weekend Coffee Share: Dragonfly destinations

Weekend Coffee Share: Dragonfly destinations

If we were having coffee today, I’d enjoy the smell of your coffee while sipping on my own sparkling water. I’d toy with the idea of buying myself a cuppa before quietly reminding myself how anxious I feel after having even the slightest bit of that tantalizing nectar.


I’d tell you about the weekdays first. There were a few lowlights, but those’ve already slipped my memory. The biggest thing about the week–what I really remember–is how hugely a small schedule change impacted me. That little bit more time I got to spend at home instead of the office daily left me feeling something surprisingly unfamiliar: like I could breathe and really settle into home, instead of just rushing around doing things there. I’d smile while telling you that it’s good to have seventeen-month-old Littler J back in the car with me while I drive to and from work.

He stayed at home with his dad over the summer, so I missed his chatter. Sometimes he howls because he’s signing something to me, something I can’t see because I’m focused on the freeway in front of me. I ask him if he could use his voice instead of his hands to tell me what he wants, while also not wanting to rush him too much. I love how he talks with his hands. Yesterday, I’d exclaim, he realized he could put words together: that baby plus cat means “kitten!”

I’d tell you it’s been surprisingly healing posting journal entries about coming to terms with my mom’s mental illness over the course of about two decades. I’d tell you how the bitter taste in my mouth eased as I reread all those journal entries from a very different place than where I wrote them. I remembered so much frustration when I thought back on those days that I thought I must have been cruel as I actually walked through them. Revisiting the entries revealed that though I was frustrated by the circumstances, I was still very full of love I wished I could make my mom feel. Seeing the discrepancy between the rage I remembered and the generally calm perseverance I showed lifted my heart.

I’d mention how surprised I was when several friends called me “stalwart” in an activity at my wedding reception. I hadn’t understood what they meant then, I’d explain. I only saw it rereading all those entries.

I’d meander a bit and mention I emailed my godmother, thanking her for her many examples of stalwartness over the years. She’d emailed me apologetic that she could have added to my distress during the weeks after my mom snapped. What I wanted to say was, “Are you kidding?!?!?!?!”

Because I suck at succinctness, I said instead that I strongly suspected the single frustrated paragraph I wrote then is the only not-totally-positive reference to her in the couple million words I’ve journaled over my life.

I just said it, you know, longer.

Since you’re still contentedly sipping your coffee, I’d close my eyes for a minute and think about what else happened since we last chatted. My family and I took a trip to the bookstore, for one; Li’l D found a few spooky chapter books.

I, too, found something that delighted me: an eponymous kids book on Dia de los Muertos. I was only really introduced to it last year; it quickly won over my heart as my favorite holiday. I bought the book based on its illustrations and first two pages. As I read the book aloud in the car, my heart soared as I thought excitedly, November is almost here! What celebrations of love and life will we see this year? I will see soon enough, I’d say with a grin. I wish it could be tomorrow, but we both know, don’t we, that two months will sail by as if a fallen leaf on a breezy day.

Would you like to go with me? I’d ask. Maybe all those displays of love and remembering will win over your heart, too!

I’d tell you I was surprised that Littler J let me read him the full book before naptime. Usually he kicks away books that aren’t Jazz Baby, The Mommy Book or Bright Baby’s animals. It’s too early to tell if he’ll look forward to Dia de los Muertos in future years, but his fascination with the book had me hopeful.


I’d wonder what else I could tell you in the couple minutes left for me to reflect aloud in your delightful company this week. I’d land on the dragonfly I heard buzzing around my porch last night. She kept turning upside down, skittering around on her back in an effort to right herself.

I sat down and watched her. Moments after I placed a finger next to her, curious if she’d hop on, she flitted onto my knee. She spent a little time on my hand, later, with me feeling awed and thankful and hopeful she’d find her way to wherever she was going.

When I set her down once, she flew into a spiderweb. I pulled her out and brushed away tendrils of web before setting her down again. “Be safe, dragonfly friend,” I told her as I walked inside after she landed on a wall and took rest there. I thought of bringing her inside, but hated the thought of her being trapped with somewhere else to be.

My heart sank a little when I opened the door and saw a line of ants marching past. “Oh, no, dragonfly friend,” I whispered even before I saw her. I gently collected her and showed her to Li’l D. He was sad for her, but excited I’d gotten to spend some time with her. That felt right to me, being glad for the moments we had together on my porch instead of sad she didn’t find her way home. But even then I wondered, maybe my home was meant to be hers for a little while. Maybe she got to the somewhere else she was meant to be.


I’d look at the time and say, “Oh, no! I have to go! I’m so sorry I overwhelmed the conversation! Next time I’ll zip my mouth, and listen to everything that’s been going on in your life.”

Okay, so maybe not everything; there’s too much life to fit into an hour or two chatting over coffee! But at least the things most important to you, which are also important to me.

  1. September 13, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    Awesome! You may already know this but a dragonfly is a symbol of souls coming back to tell you the afterlife is amazing beyond our imagination. I think the loss of the dragonfly could symbolize there’s even more than even the afterlife. I believe that dragonfly appreciated being with you in its final moments. Thanks for giving me inspiration for my next post!

    • September 14, 2015 at 4:47 am

      I looked up dragonflies briefly that evening, but didn’t see that! I love this. I do know it felt … I don’t even know how to describe it yet, but I’ll keep looking for the words. 🙂

  2. September 13, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    The Dragonfly is also the symbol of change and transformation, of adaptability and Joy, lightness of being, it is the symbol of the realm of emotions, invitation to dive deeper into your feelings. Something you have been doing all week.

    I have a Dragonfly tattoo and have always aligned with the Dragonfly as one of my totems.

    If we were having coffee today, I would drink enough for both of us. I would listen, because you would need that from me and I would happily and with great love give it to you.

    • September 14, 2015 at 4:50 am

      You know when I heard the buzzing? Right after finishing a read of my The End post. I think that’s part of why I felt … almost this sensation of floating when I made out the buzzing’s source. It felt joyous, and not at all coincidental.

  3. September 13, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    Dragonflies are ephemeral magic. I am so glad that you had, relished, and cherished your time with that one.
    I so enjoyed our cuppa together. Thank you.

    • September 14, 2015 at 4:51 am

      “ephemeral magic” captures it so well! I’ve often seen dragonflies around my work, but never near my home. It was lovely to share those moments.

  4. September 13, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    Sweet dragonfly. It’s sad to see something so bright fade away, even if it is just the way things go. At least little dragonfly made an impact while she was around. 🙂

    Hope you and the little one enjoy the books, too! That looks like a fun little haul.

    • September 14, 2015 at 4:55 am

      I opened the door hoping I’d see she’d flown away, so it was sad when I realized she hadn’t … but I had this sense I shouldn’t hold onto the sadness, somehow. I wish I could describe it better, but I think it will take time to find these words. 🙂

      (Thank you so much for the coffee share deal, by the way! I read yours all those weeks and thought, “I should do this!” It took me a while, but I love the coziness of it.)

      • September 14, 2015 at 7:21 pm

        You’re welcome! Glad you’ve joined in. It does feel nice and cozy, and since we’re coming up on winter months here that’s doubly nice. 🙂

  5. September 14, 2015 at 12:00 am

    Ours was a weekend filled with dragonflies too – beautiful creatures.

    • September 14, 2015 at 4:56 am

      Awesome! I saw one more while driving to the grocery store yesterday morning. It made me smile. 🙂

  6. September 14, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    If I had been your coffee partner I would have been overjoyed to let you “overwhelm the conversation” as I am in a place where talking requires more energy than I have to spare. I would have marveled at your strength and willingness to revisit your origin story. I would have chuckled over Littler J’s two word discovery and his enjoyment of the book. I would have been awed at the gift of the dragonfly.

    Then, before we rushed off to our separate lives I would have hugged you and thanked you for sharing. Because I needed the baby induced chuckle, I needed the gift (even second hand) of the dragonfly, and I so desperately needed the reminder that origin stories do not disappear when some of the participants are no longer present. Thank you for this today. I am sending you a virtual hug of gratitude.

    Small explanation: I am losing a part of my origin story right now. The last person who knows who I was before I began the work of becoming who I am has been diagnosed terminal. We have little time left together. So the reminder that I can remember for the both of us and that the story will remain was exactly what I needed today.

    • September 15, 2015 at 4:28 am

      Aaaaah, I know how hard spent words can be at times, when they can even be found. I’m glad to have shared this bit of coffee with you, and want you to know that I’m sending a whole lot of love from here.

      I hope you’ll read my “The End” entry. It’s sad on account of being “the end,” but a couple of the entries might help affirm how much joy there can be in remembering for both of you. It took me time to find it, but I found it in bits and pieces all the same, barely noticing it until it had grown into a swell of joy.

      I wore my dragonfly earrings to the office, remembering the dragonfly. I was so sad to discover one of the earrings had fallen out … even reminding myself it’s only a “thing,” and that the experience can’t be lost. I cheered when I later told my husband I’d lost it. “No, you didn’t! I found it.” I’ll be wearing them again today, because the feeling of sitting there with that dragonfly … well, it’s one I wish I could transmit directly to you, without need for words.

      I’ll be thinking of you with love and dragonflies.

      • September 16, 2015 at 6:40 am

        Thank you for the love and the dragonflies. I will read “The End” (your blog is my not-so-guilty pleasure…so I read all) I may not weigh in always with a comment but know I am always reading.

  7. in567
    September 18, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    Yowzers, that dragonfly’s huge! O.O

    • September 18, 2015 at 3:31 pm

      Haha, I didn’t even think of it like that … until someone else said, “It’s huge!” and I realized it was, compared to all the others I’d seen. Maybe that’s why it had a hard time flying?

  1. September 15, 2015 at 11:18 am

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