Frogs in a Mason Jar
By Joan Whetzel
"Mine Frogs" my 2 year old granddaughter yelled out in the middle of the night.
The frogs she wanted were a set of plastic toy poison dart frogs purchased from the science museum gift store for my son many years ago. He had given them to me for safe keeping when he entered junior high because he wasn't quite ready to part with them completely. So I placed them in a mason jar and set them on a shelf in my home office next to my jars of shells, sand dollars, glass marbles, rocks, and other pretties that I like to pull out and look at from time to time. Why should a handful of poison dart frogs be any less of a treasure?
Time passed, my son graduated from high school, and I began to wonder why I continued to hang on to those frogs. That is, until my daughter and granddaughter moved in with us, due to an unfortunate set of circumstances. Two moves in three months, and an impending divorce by her parents, had disrupted my granddaughter's life beyond her control and her ability to cope. She was looking for something that could be hers no matter where she was. She was looking for some form of security. So when she spotted that Mason jar with the frogs in it, she latched on to them, refusing to part with them, even to go to bed at night.
We tried putting them back on the shelf; so they could go to sleep for the night. But that first night in our house was shaping up to be a long and loud one unless we let her take the frogs with her to bed. For months afterward, the jar of frogs went everywhere with her. To the park, to restaurants, to the bathroom, even swimming around in the bathtub. The frogs, once my son's treasure, were now my granddaughter's treasure.
Over the years, she has expanded the collection in her treasure jar to include little plastic snakes, lizards, and bugs. Quite a colorful collection. She no longer feels the need to carry the Mason jar around with her everywhere, but she still pulls it out from time to time to play with the critters that became the stabilizing factor - as beloved a lovey as any baby blanket - during the worst period of turmoil in her little life.