Jules, death and the rock/frog
Saturdays are garden days. Just one of the perks from the deep south. My parents are watching the snow fall in rural Alaska, and I'm here in the sun. Last Saturday was no exception. With the boom box blaring, Magnolia my 7 yo. and Jules, the uncorrigible toddler, we set out to create our own sanctuary. Well, I set out for the sanctum quest, the kids just played 'Lord of the Flies'. I had been grunting around the garden for about an hour when I looked up and saw that the kids were happliy playing on the swingset. Jules was gnawing on his favorite snack; a rock. I continued. A few minutes later I heard a tiny voice from the play area,"hop. hop. hop." Kids are cute, I thought to myself. A few minutes later, while I stopped mid grunt to the screams of Jules,"HOP!HOP!HOP!" He was obviously frustrated. I went over to inspect and Jules was two inches away from 'the rock' demanding that it hop. To my horror, I walked towards the yelling, only to find that his rock wasn't a rock at all, but a mummified frog. It's not exactly clear how long ago this lil' guy had croaked, but it had been long enough to completely solidify, lose it's eyes and cave in the middle. Stifling my disgust, I pulled Jules away. Dramatically, he ran back to the frog, saying, "It's okay, fghwoggy.It's okay, you don't need to hop." My god, he thought it was still alive, and his friend. On Sesame Street 20+ years ago, I watched a girl, who because she was allergic, wasn't allowed any pets. So she had a pet rock. The girl sat there petting her rock and said," When he takes his bath, he get's real frisky." Frisky? At the time, I thought she was a big kid. Inretrospect, she was only about 9. But very articulate. She loved that rock. She made it a bed out of an old cardboard shoebox and and odd bits of early 80's fabric. I cringe to think of Jules keeping his rock/frog in a box. Taking care of it. Having stirring nights of 'hop hop'. I'd imagine that superglue could not repair broken limbs in the event of roughhousing or games of 'frog on the train tracks'.And though his exterior would have been the envy of all Egyptian Mummifiers, I didn't want to see if he got 'frisky' in the bath. I had the painful task of telling my little baby that his friend was dead. "Honey, the froggy is dead." I told him."Dead? What dat?" He asked. "It means he's not going to jump again, and he won't get up and play.He's not alive like you or Magnolia.""Fwghoggy sleeping?""Yep,baby, I'm so sorry." I said."So let's go but him away."So I chose not to put the rock/frog on the mantle and in my better judgement took him to his final resting place. With shovel in hand, we took the solemn walk to the back half(acre)for a proper burial. Jules was pitifully holding his friend. He pulled rock/frog to his lips. I thought he was going in to gnaw a little more, but he gave the leathery back a little kiss. I wanted to gag. Then he started gnawing. I took the lil reptile out of my toddlers mouth, "Friends are not for chewing, baby." I gently reminded him. "But Momm! You ate a frog leg at the bu-""Shut it Magoo""Sorry Mom"Magnolia has a way of debating points at all the wrong times. We dug a hole then it was time for the frog to rest. Jules chucked rock/frog into the hole. Hard. I might very well have a shortstop on my hands. We piled dirt over our newly discovered and well decayed friend. We needed a marker. Or a gravestone, or something.Then it occurred to me, we didn't even know the frogs denomination!I couldn't, in good faith, place a cross over him, where a star of David might be more appropriate. I have always thought of religion as the cereal aisle in the grocery store. All the different brands. The pricey ones. The cheap knockoffs. Now to think of a frog hopping down that aisle was just absurd. I were a frog , would I eat cereal? And which one? Jew Loops? Krishna Krispis, now with 25% more enlightenment? Catholic Crunch? It cuts the roof of your mouth, but that's your own damned fault. Quaker Oats? Mormon Fl-"Mom!"Ripped out of my mental supermarket, I went to finish the task at hand. A stick. Good enough. Jules thought rock/frog was a boy, a fallice will suffice.Jules sat by the the mound and stick. "Bye fwghoggy." He mumbled beneath his sadness.magnolia swooped low to console her brother. "Don't worry Julian, we're recyclable!"Recyclable? I was intrigued. Magnolia continued,"Yeah! Your froggy can become a new froggy now."Jules moped, "No! No new fwghoggy.""Or he can become something better!" Magoo said. "What do you think he'll become?" He thought a minute. "Ummmmm dinosaur?""Yeah! He'll become a big happy dinosaur! Isn't that cool?" She replied."Ummm wanna fwghing" At that moment the sad, mopey Julian was reincarnated to a fully happy, energetic toddler. And it was all thanks to the endless 'exhistential hours' full of questions Magnolia would ask to stave off bedtime. As we sat on the swing set, conversation lulled and Jules looked at his sister. "I lub you,Yaya."Kids. They have a way of reminding us that no matter if your just a frog, your important. I have taught my children about love and compassion and they are using it. The lessons that I learned from my Mother. And she learned love from her grandmothers,now long past.But, their lessons are still used today. Death is nondiscriminatory. Death doesn't care how rich or poor you are, how many accolades you have recieved or titles you have earned. You're still going to turn into a rock/frog eventually. It all comes down to the love you have give and stimulated others to share. Your love and compassion make you immortal. And only by starting it now can it proliferate in the future. It's a good time to start, before we all turn into rock/frogs.
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