Thursday, April 30, 2009
FACES OF FORTUNE
Toads are amphibious. They breed and lay eggs in water, but spend the rest of their time on land. Their mating is rough and tumble. They breast stroke across the water surface after each other, jumping onto and shoving each other under. They make an all consuming racket. Each toad sings a trilling song in a different key. There might be thousands of them in one place - a thousand distinct notes, some ending in choked burbling when a singer is pulled under. The period of attraction is short; they only mate for two or three days. Over night, the ponds they occupy go from ear splitting to dead silent. I have a friend who thinks that toads are the ugliest things she’s ever seen. I delight in sending photographs to her because I get such a reaction: “Ugly! UGLY, UGLY, UGLY!” she says. To me, they are wonderful. Granted, they have faces maybe only a mother could love. Yes, they have brown lumps and bumps all over them and dumpy bodies. But, their little hands can clutch onto your finger like a baby, and they have the gold eyes of kings. I do wonder though, when the pond goes silent, where do they all go? Do they forget about each other? Does the love end the day the pond goes quiet?
Over twenty years ago, I gave birth to two children. They are fortunate to each be very attractive people. But, even if they were toads, some other toad would love them and think them worth singing about loudly. Come to think of it, some of the people they’ve each dated, I was sure were toads! The older I get, the more I’m convinced that the adage “there’s somebody for everybody” is true, though my children will never have to worry about finding people to love them. They are brilliant, successful and wonderful. For each of them, there will be someone who will hurl themselves across a pond and grab onto them for dear life. I wanted to hold onto them for dear life myself! They changed my life. Sometimes, I felt like I was drowning in the tasks of feeding them, hair cuts, homework, crying, fevers, T-ball, birthday parties, clean clothes, etc. The din of their growing up was often overwhelming. Then, seemingly suddenly, the pond was quiet. In the mean time, they had changed how I saw the whole world. They had taught me about infinity. They taught me the joy of deep, everlasting commitment. They taught me about love.