Last Thursday night, I was in the bathroom with Benjamin, where I was planning to give him a shower because he is maybe the sweatiest little boy I’ve ever seen. While he undressed himself, I went and lifted the toilet lid so that he could go to the bathroom before his shower. As I then went to lift the seat, I saw something out of the corner of my eye, between the toilet seat and the rim of the toilet bowl. Wondering how one of my kids could have lodged something there, I went to lift the seat, when all of a sudden I realized that it was not something left by one of my kids but a FROG. Now I’m sure that the frog was even less happy about being there than I was to have him there, but you wouldn’t have known that from my reaction. I ushered Benjamin out of the bathroom (i.e., pretty much threw him) slammed the lid of the toilet down, practically dove out of the bathroom and slammed the door. For good measure, I put a towel along the bottom of the door, lest that crazy frog try to escape.
Once I was safely in my bedroom, I texted my older brother, an avid outdoorsman, and tried through humor to guilt him into coming over and capturing the frog (Jon was out of town). But it was already after 7pm, the Bruins/Capitals game was on, and he lives in freakin’ Virginia, which apparently is too far to come to save your baby sister (who only months ago was diagnosed with breast cancer!) from a HUGE frog. Some big brother he turned out to be. He cancels one little trip to Israel for my surgery and all of a sudden he thinks he can just sit back and make fun of me again? I don’t think so.
So I posted on Facebook that there was a frog in my kids’ bathroom, and asked who wanted to come get it. I received many helpful responses, ranging from suggestions to set my house on fire and run, to going to a hotel, to putting up a for sale sign, but nobody offered to come get the frog. Until later that night, when my friend, Debbie texted and said that if she had seen the message earlier that she would have come to save me. Apparently she was an avid frog catcher in her youth, and she promised that if the frog was still around the next morning after 11:30, she would come rescue me. Well, she may not have PROMISED, exactly, but I took her at her word. I am reasonably sure that Debbie was sure that by 11:30 the next morning, I would not need her, but unfortunately for her, she was wrong.
I came home from the gym the next morning, feeling fairly confident that the frog would be gone, because our cleaning service had been there that morning. I was taking the kids to school when they arrived, so had no opportunity to warn them, but they have removed other wildlife from our house (our backyard is all woods, leading down to a creek) so I figured that they would be fine. I came home and went to go look in the kids’ bathroom. The frog wasn’t on the toilet anymore. Yippee! And then I took a quick look around the bathroom, and THERE IT WAS.
Do you see how vicious it looks?
Anyway, I called Debbie, who had the audacity not to answer the phone, and left her a voicemail saying in no uncertain terms that she had to call me back ASAP and that we had a situation. When my phone rang a few minutes later, I grabbed it quickly said hello, and heard, “Do we have a frog emergency?” I was ENORMOUSLY relieved.
20-30 of the longest minutes later, Debbie came over and like the hero(ine) that she is, she went straight upstairs, grabbed that frog, and brought him outside, where she spent 5-10 minutes alternately debating whether she should bring it home as a pet for her 2 boys, because she thought it was SO CUTE and laughing at me, because I was afraid of a tree frog.
We decided that the frog would be happier in its natural habitat, so we walked around the house to the backyard, where Debbie set that froggy free.
Beyond the fact that I had a FROG IN MY 3rd STORY BATHROOM (and if I really think about how it arrived there I may have to hover-pee for the rest of our time in this house), what I find so fascinating about all of this is that although so many people over the past few months have called me brave and strong for my ability to deal with cancer, I was genuinely scared of a tree frog. And anyone who knows me knows that the list of other things that I’m afraid of is not short. My fear of thunderstorms is legendary. I can’t watch scary movies AT ALL. When Jon travels, I don’t sleep because every creak of the house has me sitting straight up wondering what/who is in the house (maybe it’s a frog!). As an aside, if Jon were home, he would likely sleep through it if something/one were in the house, but that’s a different post entirely.
The truth is, when you’re diagnosed with cancer, you have no choice but to move ahead and do what’s required to get better. You can’t close the door and pretend it isn’t there (well, for a few days you can try, but it doesn’t really work). You certainly can’t call your family or friends and say that there’s a cancer emergency and ask them to come over and take it away. The reality is, I think that my family and friends have been much braver than I have. I don’t remember very much from the day of my big surgery. When I go back and read all the emails and facebook posts from that day, I think how hard it must have been for all of my family and friends. For me, it was over in the blink of an eye. One minute I was awake, the next I was asleep, and about 7 hours later I woke up and remembered nothing. I’m sure that Jon, my parents, my brother, and my friends all remember a lot about that day…how scary it was for them, waiting for news. I know the day of my friend, Jodi’s surgery I was constantly checking email for an update. And I remember when Jodi was diagnosed, thinking that I had to be brave for her, so that she would know that she could tell me anything and ask for anything, without concern that I would fall apart.
I appreciate so much that so many of you think that I’m brave, or strong, or courageous because of how I’ve faced my cancer. There are a lot of days when I don’t feel any of those things. I suppose that if I had really HAD to, I could have taken care of that frog myself. But it’s a huge relief to know that when I feel like I can’t, or just don’t want to, I have as many people as I do who are willing to come to my rescue, even for something as small as a frog.