I heard that if you put a frog in a pot of boiling water it will jump out pretty quick, but if you heat it up gradually the frog gets used to the heat and stays in the pot. Well this is kind of like having kids.
Children usually arrive at intervals in parents’ lives, which is nice. That way folks get used to all the excitement that children bring with their arrival. Most folks have them one by one, but after the first one, ours came two by two with an add-on at the end making six kids in eight years. Yet still, they did arrive at three-year intervals, which helped us brace ourselves for the chaos that ensued. We were on boil for many, many years.
Now after many, many years my husband and I left the family home in Canada to settle here in the fair Caribbean, far from snow and of course, far from the family. The word settle is a fair description of what our lives have become. Our lives are settled; fairly quiet, and predictable – something I would have detested when I was young but have come to enjoy. It’s kind of a reverse frog-in-pot, paddling around in the cool water.
While we were absent, our children began families of their own, blessing us with grandchildren. What a treat to see them – thanks to technology we never could have imagined – on Face Time and Skype. Press the button and there they are, smiling and waving. Press again, and they are gone.
Last month our son and his lovely wife escaped from their long winter and arrived at our condo with their three, age 8, 6 and 4 for 10 days. Hot? Not. We’re talking boil for this old frog.
Our grandchildren are lovely and clever, as all grands are and there was no end of entertainment for the roughly fourteen long hours that they were awake. Ever clever, our eldest grandson, upon hearing the ditty “I-I-I-I-I-I want candy!” on the T.V. was able to not only sing it, but to accompany it with drumming on the counter for twenty minutes as I made lunch, while his brother and sister wrestled over the spot on the couch that was apparently the best viewpoint for cartoons. Our son and daughter-in- law, reading something on their phones, never even flinched. That is because they are used to the boil.
Now the sad part of this tale is that after ten days, just when this old frog was getting used to the hot pot, the water cooled and she was left sighing over the songs and hugs and demonstrations of how to make farting noises in one’s armpits. And yes, she was missing the incredible energy and wide eyes that see things for the first time and then sing and dance about it all. Froggie had a flash from her past and the present became somehow empty. It was not the calm, settled place she used to like. A sudden shot of vigorous life reminds one of what once was and perhaps, just perhaps it can yet be. Thank God for grandchildren.