02 May Love, Loyalty and a Friend Named Froggy
This morning, at breakfast, my seven year old daughter was taking pictures on my IPad. She found some funny settings that made some of the images look like x-rays and some like a fun house mirror. She was having a ball. Then suddenly she was filled with inspiration to take pictures of what we have come to call her “people.” People is actually a misnomer because the entourage includes only stuffed animals and two blankets. She adores her people. She sleeps with them at night, brings them down with her in the morning. She says goodbye to them when she goes to school and can’t wait to greet them when she comes home in the afternoon. The original and founding member of her “people” is Froggy.
Froggy has been with us since before Mary Kathryn was born. He was a shower gift and I’m sure the person who gave it to me had no idea what an important member of our family he would become. I’m not even sure of the exact moment it happened or even how old she was at the time but it was love and in an instant he became her security item and best friend.
All kids have a blanket, woobie or ruff ruff. Some item that brings them comfort when they are tired or scared of the dark. I know it is not unique. The reason I wanted to share this is because it struck me this morning as she proudly took his picture and shouted to me, “Oh mommy look at Froggy’s picture! He looks so handsome!” that I could learn a thing or two from her.
I noticed in that moment how unwavering her love for that stuffed frog is. It is pure, true, unconditional love. The kind of love I aspire to give my husband, family and friends. Aspire being the key word because it is not easy and because I fall short most of the time. But she doesn’t. She puts a seat belt on him when he rides in the car. He gets a chair to sit in at dinner and when we watch TV. If you sit on him by mistake there are serious repercussions. Imagine the kind of reaction a new mother would have if you sat on her infant? That kind of thing.
To be honest – to me a relationship with a stuffed animal seems to be a little one-sided. You know, all give and no take. But not to her. She never says to herself. “I wish Froggy would think about how I feel every once in a while…” the way that I tend to do. None of the occasional score keeping or getting caught up in what I am or am not getting out of my relationships. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Rumi: “And still after all this time, the Sun has never said to the Earth, ‘You owe me’ Look what happens with love like that. It lights up the sky.”
As time has passed and more animals and blankies have been added to the mix her love and loyalty to that frog remains deep and unwavering. I realized that this morning as she beamed with pride at his picture. All these years later she loves him just as dearly. It was inspiring. Today the teacher became the student as I watched her and thought about the way I love the people in my life. We should all be so lucky to be on the receiving end of this kind of unconditional love. What I learned from my daughter today is that really, we should all be so lucky to be on the giving end of it as well.
That is my wish for me, for her and for everyone I know. So thank you Mary Kathryn. Thank you for reminding me this morning what it means to love.