My 2 year old son, Drew, decided that we needed a Live Butterfly Garden a couple of months ago after seeing the advertisement on PBS Sprout.  I don’t order things off of the t.v., so a month or so later when I saw them for sale at Walmart, I decided to pick one up. 

About three or four days after logging onto the website and ordering the live caterpillar larvae,  a small box containing five live caterpillars arrived. 

DAY 1 05/12/11

They were tiny!  Drew was so excited to have his caterpillars.  He would quote the commercial every time he looked at them.  It was hard to believe that they would get “10 times the size” as they say in the commercial (and as my son recited). 

But a mere four days later….

DAY 5 05/16/11

They were growing up before our very eyes!!   

Four days after that….

DAY 9 05/20/11

 they were beginning to form cocoons!! 

Two days later….

DAY 11 05/22/11

all five cocoons were formed!  They looked a little different from what I imagined.

After three more days, my husband moved the cocoons into, as Drew calls it, the Butterfly Habitat or Butterfly Garden.

DAY 14 05/25/11

It is a good thing that he moved them, because, today, we had a BUTTERFLY!

One lone butterfly… he seemed to just be hanging around waiting on his butterfly siblings to emerge from their cocoons and join him.  I put sugar water in the habitat, like the instructions said to, but he really seemed pretty disinterested.  I began to think about his situation and I began to wonder if that lone butterfly, the pioneer of his small family, was feeling some of the same feelings that I have felt over the last year. 

It is not easy to start something new and it is definitely not easy to begin a new program or activity that no one else you know is doing.  Having someone to talk to and share your experience with is a great feeling.  On the contrary, not having anyone to share it with is lonely.  As the only specimen in the habitat or the only one doing the program or activity, you have to be willing to be the lone pioneer.  The one that discovers all of the tricks and tips on your own.  The one that does the research and tests the theories.  You have to be strong!  Strong enough to look at the people who are trying to discourage your progress and smile and say, “no matter what you say or think, I WILL make this work!” 

When I began my journey to become a healthier and more physically fit Kristy, I was the lone pioneer.  I was beginning something that no one, that I knew of, had done before.  I was determined to lose my weight without surgery, without any gimmicks or medications, and without participating in a “diet program.”  I was also determined, mostly because of my financial situation, to lose the weight without spending any additional money.  I set out to prove to the world that no matter how poor you are, you can be more physically fit and eat healthier foods. 

Initially, I began my journey by myself and for myself.  As time has progressed and more and more people showed an interest in following what I was doing, my journey has changed.  I see my journey now, while I am still losing the weight and becoming healthier for myself, as more of a journey to inspire others to change whatever circumstances exist in their lives that need to be changed, in order to live a happier and healthier life. 

I am happy to report that others have since joined me on my journey and I am so proud of them for taking control of their lives and of their bodies.  I am no longer the lone pioneer.  Others are learning from my research and my experiences.  I am able to provide them with that support and that “someone to talk to who has been there.”

One day soon, the lone butterfly will be alone no more and the other four butterflies will join him in his journey.  I look forward to the day when we release all five butterflies into the world and allow them to fly freely in any direction they choose.  Similarly, I look forward to seeing what direction my friends and family will take on their journeys.

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