Froggy arrived at our doorstep as a tadpole; the coolest part of the neighbor's camping adventure down in the canyon. He arrived with three siblings, as it were. He alone survived the sweat shop that is my boys' bathroom. Having transformed the surf frog habitat where once Discovery Science Center spawn had attempted to thrive into a new nursery, Froggy and his friends splashed about in mostly complete peace. The only exception was when Fred, the frog killing cat, was lurking.
Froggy's siblings died a bizarre and sudden death one evening. But Froggy kept on going. And Froggy became Froggy. Transfered to a new and luxurious home downstairs, Froggy adapted well, even to the piercing blue eyes that gazed upon him like he was the greatest delicacy known to cat-kind. But as the weeks progressed, the only two humans still curious about Froggy were mom and dad, who made sure that he had a ready supply of fruit flies and ample water.
That is, until William's birthday weekend. And, for two long days, absorbed in details and running between boy scouts, neighbor's houses and ice hockey, as well as William's Disneyland birthday extravaganza, nobody checked on Froggy. And in that 48-hour span of time, Froggy died.
William, devastated to find his little friend lifeless and shriveled, is a mixture of perplexed and distraught. When pets die it opens up a window to have valuable discussions with our children about the fragility of life and how to live in the "now" (which kids do in spades, anyway). But having your reptilian buddy die over your birthday is never ideal. And no amount of cuddles and rationalizations can ever adequately explain what transpired.
So we will bury Froggy somberly with the assorted hamsters and mice who have shared their lives with us; the furry friends lasted much much longer, but all have had their special time with us. And the only downside to this backyard memorial is that as I garden, I secretly hope I don't displace a burial spot I may have forgotten.
And now Fred has absolutely nothing to terrorize. To which I suggest, you know, the boys really want a dog...