“Butterflies”

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Did you take General Psych in school? Do you remember Erikson’s psychosocial stages of development? As a sociology major and then an occupational therapist, I distinctly recall studying this several times. Now that I’m, um, older, I think I’ve found a weak spot in his thinking….

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[Source: Gathan Beaga]

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Erickson observed and described FIVE stages of development

to get kids from birth to the teen years

but tossed together a measly, vaguely-depicted THREE more

to take us from the age of 18 until death.

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AH-HA-HA-HA-hahaha!

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[Source: Gathan Beaga]

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[Bear with me while I take a little license with Erikson’s model here — I know he had certain things in mind. But still, I believe my points are valid….]

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[Source: Gathan Beaga]

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Did Erikson take note of THESE milestones? — Figuring out how to live with the alien you promised your life to in marriage? Shakily acknowledging responsibility for your newborn when YOU DON”T KNOW WHAT THE HECK YOU ARE DOING? Learning from your mistakes? (Emblazoned on my memory is the time I went through the house slamming windows closed so the neighbors wouldn’t hear me scream at my 10-year-old.)

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[Source: Gathan Beaga]

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Or how about these — Discovering that raising kids to be independent is the right thing to do but hurts like the dickens? Realizing that you caused your own parents a boatload of pain and worry but they never let on? Seeing aging in a whole new light once age 50 or 60 hits? Wondering who will “go first,” you or your spouse?

And these are only the highlights. I personally think Mr. Erikson skimmed over way too much stuff.

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Erikson’s problematic schema aside, I am so thankful that we do change and learn and grow. Can you imagine how dull life might be otherwise?

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“If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.” 

~Author Unknown

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Diane brought me a handful of wool sweaters from her dad’s closet not long after he passed away. Her parents had been married for 55 years and all too quickly he was suddenly gone. Talk about a new developmental stage! Diane said, “I’d love for you to make a blanket for my mom out of these sweaters of Dad’s.”

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A couple days later, Diane added: “And would you put butterflies on it?” Butterflies — to depict the unfolding days ahead for her mom, now no longer with her mate by her side, but with instead a whole realm of new possibilities.

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I used three of Diane’s dad’s sweaters:

In the photo above, 1) the brown patch that the pansies are on, and below, 2) the cream-colored stripe and 3) the “checkerboard” under the blue butterfly.

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His sweaters make a beautiful background for the new butterflies, just breaking forth now and finding their way.

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And back to Erikson — he lived until nearly age 92. Do you imagine that just MAYBE he had a couple more chapters brewing in his mind by then?

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Butterflies (Size: 57″ x 70″)

[This is a custom-ordered blanket.]


13 thoughts on ““Butterflies”

  1. Joanie – I just absolutely love the butterflies and the way you styled them on that blanket makes them look as though they are actually flitting around. It’s a happy blanket – very special. Love you, Mom.

    Like

  2. It is an amazing blanket and I will cherish it the rest of my life. Thank you so very much.
    Janet Hunter (Diane’s Mom)

    Like

  3. I love the entire analogy and thought process, Joan! The blanket, too, is beautiful and sentimental. Well done.
    Love, Candie

    Like

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