I grabbed that damn frog off the living room floor for what must have been the millionth time in a week. Why did all of Harrison’s sleeping tools never seem to be in his bed when it was time to go to sleep?!
Stopping to look for a minute at the small green figure, I noticed how, even after only a short time, his plush coat was faded and slightly matted down. The polka dotted bow around his neck was surprisingly still in tact, but had I chosen a bow for this creature rather than gifting him in his original store-bought attire, I think I might have opted for a different hue. Green on green wasn’t exactly my style. His black yarn smile peeked through some fuzz around his mouth, and his beaded black eyes looked relentlessly happy for a Wal-Mart purchase. Did he know he was from a bargain bin in a big box store? No, Katie, of course not. He’s a stuffed frog. I had even lied to Harrison when giving Froggy to him for the first time. “He came from a special frog store,” I replied, when he asked where this new toy came from.
And why? Why did I lie? Why didn’t I say that I bought the toy at Wal-Mart? Would he have cared? Surely not. Initially Froggy was cast aside and crankiness ensued. No airplane? No Lightning McQueen? What about legos? Legos would have been awesome. I explained to Harrison then that I bought the toy because I knew he didn’t feel well and I thought a new surprise would cheer him up.
The truth of the matter is that I wasn’t feeling well that day either. Having spent several of the previous days in fits of tears over the somewhat sudden and gut wrenching loss of the family cat, whom I had been in the company of for all of his thirteen years, I was very very sad. My husband did not love the cat the way I loved the cat; my daughter only thought he was worth chasing; and Harrison, being scared of anything on four legs, did not notice he was gone for more than a month after the fact. Although I was wallowing deeply in my own sorrows, I had been on that shopping trip to clear my mind of all sorts of troubles, but, as a mother never could, I couldn’t forget that my son was at home with a sitter, and very under the weather. Thus, I had to come home with something for him. I had thought if I could cheer him up, perhaps my own spirits would lift.
Somehow, and not surprisingly when coming from my son, the sentimentality of this object came clear after I explained its purpose. His old soul seemed immediately to turn course and find joy and love in his new present. It was now an imperative part of all comfort routines; bedtime, car rides, couch snuggles. Despite its apparent importance in all of my son’s activities, he is always an after thought, forgotten until the last minute, and then NEEDED before any further actions can proceed. Perhaps this is on purpose. Perhaps, it’s my chance to stop and go “search”, literally, for that frog, but also for a way to bring happiness and love, the way I was able to do to Harrison, even though I was hurting so much at the time.