Archive for September, 2009

The Frog Whisperer


Almost since birth, Jay has had a fascination and undying love for all animals, but it seems for frogs and toads in particular. I suppose he’s not much different from other 8 year old boys in that regard, but it’s uncanny his ability to find and capture them. These pictures were taken at a park next to the library– every time we go the frogs seem drawn to Jay as if he were the pied piper. I’m proud to say that he’s a very gentle caretaker of the little guys, and takes great pains to make sure that no harm comes to them on his watch. Our most cherished and longest owned pet is a common toad he found in a friend’s yard almost five years ago. Bella is her name (I think he saw a Magic Schoolbus cartoon with a toad that would croak bel-LAH!). Against all odds, she has survived winters, much handling, and varying times of famine and plenty. She’s been with us so long that even my husband regards her affectionately and worries about her when it gets cold.


Although I don’t share my son’s love for all that’s scaley and warty, I’m grateful that he treats them with respect rather than with cruelty for sport. It’s one of the many things, added with all the other traits, that make him so uniquely him. Like his artistic talent. Very early on I knew that the kid had a gift– when he puts his mind to it he can draw better than many adults. Sometimes his creativity manifests itself in crafts, and his father is less than thrilled that Jay’s favorite store is Micheal’s, but I couldn’t be happier with our little Bobby Hill. He’s one of a kind.

Sometimes I wonder about what he would have been like had he not been born hard of hearing. Occasionally I find myself thinking that if he’s such a great student now, man what that kid wouldn’t have been able to accomplish without the hinderance of a hearing impairment. I admit, I have been guilty of indulging fantasies of national spelling bees and graduating college at the age of 18.

But then I realize that every experience Jay has had has made him exactly the human being that he is today. And I love him precisely the way that he is, and couldn’t imagine having him any different. Just like all those time travel movies, who knows what drastic change one little variation would cause? If there was a cure tomorrow for hearing impairment, would I take it for Jay? I’m sure I would. But if I could go back in time and have him born not hard of hearing, would I? I can honestly say that I wouldn’t. He wouldn’t be the same. He would not be my child. That may sound like the biggest contradiction ever, but what I guess I’m trying to say is that I wouldn’t trade our crazy, frustrating, joyful past for an easier, more “normal” experience.

Besides, who knows how many precious lizard and frog encounters I would have missed out on. Those? Are priceless.

Because nothing says love like an ashtray for grandma.

Because nothing says love like an ashtray for grandma.

Arts in the Heart of Augusta 2009


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