A frog followed us home. I watch in the pool as they hop dangerously close, contemplating the clear blue pond. Then they are gone. I wonder why they were here, where they are going. I remember the dead frog we saw as we swam a few weeks ago. I wonder if they have heard. If they came to morn a lost friend. Or maybe to just to see the sight for themselves. Perhaps, tucked away in their home in the bushes, they didn't quiet believe a deadly pond lurked just a few feet away.
My daughter slams into me and hugs my neck, her face pressed sideways and legs wrapped around my back. I try to enjoy these moments. I know you must. But still time leaches through me. As I hug her in return I can feel it escaping between my arms.
I have a new feeling now, in the pool. I stand watching my daughter as she jumps in deep end and swims to the side, remembering the early fear, the clutching at the handrail, the worried looks. Then I would loiter nearby, ready to grab hold at all times, now I hardly need to pay attention.
My daughter sees me looking sideways and follows my gaze.“Can those frogs swim mommy?”Her questions have become more tricky. She throws queries out and expects a neatly packaged response. It takes more knowledge than I have to do it properly. People write books on these sorts of things. I tell her something about frogs and toads. “Oh.” she says, seriously. Then her little lop-sided smile returns. “Pretend I’m a dolphin, mommy.”
I pretend and she whirls around the pool in her dolphin world. A little girl about eighteen months old stands on the steps watching her in fascination, the way my daughter used to look at the older girls. My daughter glides by her, stops, smiles and moves on. When we leave the pool I say to her “Remember when you were that little? How you used to wear those floaties?" "Hmm” she says. “Can I have some ice cream?”