Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Christmas Frog

A cold, blustery day in December 2010 found me deep inside of my bedroom closet. My house was full of guests who had arrived for the holidays. My Dad had passed away only three weeks earlier so the holidays weren't feeling cheery or bright. The reason I had crawled deep inside of my walk-in closet was to clean it out which now looking back was odd behavior in itself. It's not as if I was so organized that I had nothing else to do...quite the contrary. I had cooking, wrapping, last-minute shopping, decorating to do. Cleaning is not my strong suit so reflecting on that day, I am perplexed as to what even possessed me to climb into my closet through the mountain of shoes, clothes that had fallen off hangers, and a variety of odds and ends. Whatever. I was deep within the bowels of my closet, sitting on the floor, searching for my other black flip flop with the rhinestone studs. I patted around on the floor, feeling for it when my hand touched a dry lump. Startled, I pulled my hand away. If I had a cat, I would have thought that it was a small pile of dried up cat poop but I had no cat to blame. I went to get a flashlight since I was pretty convinced that this was a pile of grossness.

Cautiously, I shined the light around and saw a little darkish green creature. A little, darkish green,dead creature. A dehydrated, dead, little darkish green creature. I carefully picked it up between my two fingers and examined it closely. It was a frog. I gasped. I sat it down very carefully and then I started to cry. I sat in my closet with my dead frog and let the tears flow.

You see, this wasn't just a frog. This was a sign from my father who had died three weeks earlier. My Dad and I had an unspoken 'frog' connection. When I was in college, my parents had come to visit during Parent's Weekend. We all attended a semi-formal dance and my father and I danced to  'Joy to the World ~ Jeremiah was a Bullfrog' by Three Dog Night. It is a dance I will never forget...probably because he hip checked me at one point and I went flying across the dance floor. Over the years, I gave him a variety of 'frog' gifts...a frog statue for his garden, a frog doorstop, frog bookends. What else do you buy a man who was impossible to buy for since he bought whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted ?  At my father's funeral, the minister allowed me to play ' Joy to the World ~ Jeremiah was a Bullfrog' as everyone left the church. It was the perfect ending to the service. I took comfort in looking around the church to see many of the seventy/eighty year old attendees bopping and rocking in their pews as Three Dog Night blasted from the rafters.

So, here I was, sitting in my closet, holding a frog skeleton. How in the world did a frog get into the back of my closet ? Our bedroom is on the second floor, at the end of a long hall. The thought of this frog hopping up the entire flight of stairs and then hopping down the hallway into my room, around the corner into my closet did bring a smile to my face. I also do not believe that is what happened. I don't even know if it is physically possible for a frog to hop up stairs. Then I have to ask why a frog would seek out my closet...a closet which has no water ! Frogs need water. This was not a toad. I do know the difference between frogs and toads. This was a frog !



Quietly, carefully, I carried the frog downstairs to show my family. They gathered around and just stared at the frog. They stared at me. They clearly didn't know what to make of the situation. My family was quiet, a phenomena which doesn't happen often.  I told them my theory, that my Dad had placed the frog in my closet as a sign that he is watching over us. They stood quietly. I think they were afraid of pushing me over the edge. No one wanted to burst my bubble. Many of the people in my family are very black and white thinkers, very logical. I, by the way, am not one of them. I am a colorful, out of the box thinker. I let my emotions lead me through life. So I threw a challenge out to all of the logical thinkers who stood there staring at my dead frog.

"How did this frog end up in my closet?"
"Um, maybe you brought it home in your shoe?" Wrong.
"Maybe the dog carried it in the house and placed it in your closet?"
No way.
" I guess the frog hopped up thirteen stairs, down the hall, around the corner into your closet." I truly doubt that.
"This is a sign from my Dad...he wants us to know that he is okay and he is watching over us."
My family stood quietly watching me and my frog.

My holidays were brighter from that point forward. I had a bounce in my step once again. Previously I had not felt like putting out all of my holiday decorations but now I went up into the attic and pulled them all out. My Dad loved decorating for the holidays with lots of color and bling. I even hummed Christmas carols as I ran around placing each decoration carefully in its place of honor. I reached into the bin for the next item and my heart stopped, momentarily, as I looked at what sat in my hand. Earlier in the year, I had seen a goofy frog statue, a parent frog with a baby on its back, each wearing a red stocking hat. I was going to put it in my Dad's Christmas stocking this year as a little joke gift, thinking it would have put a smile on his face. I had totally forgotten that I had bought this little momento and it caught me offguard. I swallowed hard, then just let the tears flow...again. I carried the frog statue down to show my family. They stood quietly watching me and my frog. I smiled.


"I would like to introduce you to our newest frog...the Christmas Frog." I set my corny little statue up on the mantle so he could see all of the festivities, hear all of the laughter and be a part of our Holiday traditions, once again.




                 Hit the arrow, sit back, tap your feet and sing along !

10 comments:

Hilary said...

Deb, this is such a beautiful message of love. It doesn't matter one bit how the frog got there. What matters is that you found it, when you you found it and that you read your Dad's message loud and clear. The Christmas frog was just the confirming tap.

Akelamalu said...

I believe it was a message from your Dad for sure!

This was my first Christmas without my Dad. I didn't want to be bothered with the decorations and the tree but then I remembered how much my Dad loved Christmas and I did it for him. I felt so much better and Christmas wasn't the terrible time I had been expecting. :)

Brian Miller said...

you know...i am glad the frog came to you no matter how he got there...i like your christmas frog as well deb...

Kim Mailhot said...

Love this story so much, Deb. My Dad left my sisters and me quite a few signs after he left us that we unmistakably from him. Accepting the signs for what they are is sometimes hard when they don't fit with what you "know" but they do fit with what we believe.

Keep sitting the hell down and writing, Lady. You have stuff to say !
Hugs !

Daryl Edelstein said...

Oh Deb, I had no idea you lost you dad so recently .. I do believe he,the frog, was a sign from your dad.. I too am a colorful outside the box loon, er, thinker and I am so glad you got your sign and the Christmas frog! How perfect!!!!!! How hoppin' perfect xo

SandyCarlson said...

Your dad is home, to be sure. What a great story. I do believe our departed love ones linger in spirit and comfort us. And then they simply accompany us. Your post is beautiful.

Jeni said...

As that old line goes "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" and so to you, pay no attention to anyone who looks at you, hears this story and is still in disbelief. I can see no other way for the frog to have landed in your closet than as a sign from your Dad! Sounds to me like that sign did its job too!

Tabor said...

A lovely story. I agree with Hilary. It does not really matter how the frog got there. It is how you got a beautiful message during a very difficult time in your life. I envy you, thinking outside the box.

TexWisGirl said...

oh, this touched my heart and let the tears flow a bit, too. :)

a wonderful POTW.

Dianne said...

I believe your Dad sent a message, absolutely
this is a sweet, loving, wonderful post
brava on POTW

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