I heard that if you put a frog in a pot of boiling water it will jump out immediately, but if you put a frog in a pot of warm water and 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. 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. We were on boil for many, many years.
After the kids were adults, my husband and I left the family home in Canada and settled here in the fair Caribbean, far from snow and far from the family. The word “settled” is a fair description of what our lives have become — fairly quiet and predictable, something I would have detested when I was young, but have come to enjoy.
While we were absent, our children began families of their own, blessing us with grandchildren. What a treat to see them, thanks to technology like FaceTime 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 home for 10 days with their three children, ages 8, 6 and 4. We’re talking full boil for this old frog.
Our grandchildren are lovely and there was no end of entertainment for the roughly 14 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 television, was able to not only sing it, but to also accompany it with drumming on the counter for 20 minutes as I made lunch. While this was happening, his brother and sister wrestled noisily 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 10 days, just when this old frog was getting used to the hot pot, the water cooled with their departure and she was left sighing over the songs and hugs and demonstrations of how to make farting noises in one’s armpits. And yes, I missed the incredible energy and wide eyes that see things for the first time and then sing and dance about it all.
This old froggie had a flash from her past and the present became somehow empty. A sudden shot of vigorous life reminds one of what once was and perhaps, just perhaps, it can yet be. Thank God for grandchildren.
Faye Lippitt is the author of “16 Chickens on a Trampoline” and the children’s book “The Great Caribbean Chicken Caper.”