Wednesday, February 15, 2012

In memory of Pole

I was not willing to be the bearer of bad news. In all honesty, I wanted to lie to my four-year-old rather than make her face the harsh reality of life and death. But her dad was right (again) and in the end, it was best that she be told exactly what happened to her tiny tadpole.

He didn't make it.

I didn't think I would either, after seeing her reaction to the news.

I knew she would cry real tears, and I knew she would be devastated. I didn't know how big those real tears would be, or how she would collapse into her daddy's arms and sob and sob over the loss of her baby frog. No situation has yet, in her few short years, prompted such a heartfelt and fully heartbroken reaction. They talked through it, and her dad explained how Pole just didn't eat enough to stay alive, and how he got sick and passed away. Abby was so very sad.

The next morning, she told me that, because her tadpole had died, she simply could not be happy. I let her know how absolutely okay it was to be sad, and to mourn the loss of her little pet. But I also reminded her that her joy does not come from her circumstances, but from God himself, and he was never going to leave her. She seemed okay with that. I told her God is sovereign, and that means he's in control of her life, even the loss of her tadpole. This didn't do much to cheer her up, but it did give her something else to focus on for a while, a truth to ponder while she dealt with her loss.

It was not a teaching moment I wanted, but it's one I'm glad we had.

Tad, our other soon-to-be frog, is still thriving, and Abby loves watching his development, each day bringing him one step closer to losing the tail, growing arms and becoming a frog. She enjoys seeing him use his new legs to swim around in his home, but she's worried he'll be lonely now without Pole in there with him.

We scooted him up real close to the fish bowl so he can peak in on our Betta fish, Lucy, and Abby feels better knowing Tad has a friend nearby. Lucy is not thrilled with this set up.

When Tad matures into a frog, Abby is looking forward to releasing him into the wild so that he can play in our creek with the other frogs. Or she might take him to her friend Hannah's house. She's heard Hannah has lots of frogs around her pool in the summertime. I told Abby she has a while to decide.

Lucy, it seems, is a permanent member of the family. She's died twice now, and each time comes back slightly larger, or a slightly different color. I think when Lucy 3.0 dies, it might be time to tell the kids the truth.

I think I'll let Justin do it.

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