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of how my father hooked a hollow, crispy shell to my nose when I was a very young girl. I stood as still as a statue and crossed my eyes trying to see it. After that day, I collected them. Today, they connect me to my childhood.

“I also collected them when I was young,” my husband’s biological mother shared with us a few days ago. “I’d take their delicate shells and put them in matchboxes and stack them in my room, so they wouldn’t get crushed.”

And so, yesterday, we plucked some exoskeletons from some oak leaves to place in a small box for her. We plan to ship them over to Texas this week, sending her a small reminder of her childhood, and just in time for Mother’s Day. As the symphony of cicadas crescendos, enveloping us in their buzzing chorus, it’s impossible not to be swept away by the magic of it all. These winged creatures, with their quirky life cycles and boisterous gatherings, remind us to stop and notice the extraordinary wonders of the world, and most of all, find the joy and uniqueness of each and every day.

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