We’re froggin’ it, Mom.

Please read the back story about this watch at the end of my post.

I began checking my watch around 6 on Sunday evening. I knew the drive should take about 5.5 hours without stops, add in the bladder needs of 6 teen girls and 1 adult female and I figured anytime between 6 and 6:30 the phone should ring. Roughly 7 hours earlier I had waved goodbye to both C and A as they headed north to help repair homes and work with children at a Native American reservation. It was the first time both girls would be gone for more than a night…at the same time…giving my husband and I exactly 5 nights and 6 days to test out the “empty nest.” And, we had plans to enjoy every minute alone. We just needed that “got there safely” call to come through to let out our breath and turn our focus to each other.

“They should be there anytime,” I told my husband at about 20 minutes past 6. I tried to conceal my pacing and busied myself in the kitchen. I was beginning to feel anxious, which does not help in the romance department. I double checked the voicemail. No message. I paced some more. Ring, phone, ring! And then, almost in direct answer to prayer, the phone rang.

I dove across the table  casually answered the phone with a “Hello, honey!” only to have my eardrums pierced by the high pitched squeals of 6 teen girls confined in a van while amped up on the entire double batch of chocolate chip cookies I had sent along for the journey. My daughter was rambling at lightening speed and in a tone that I’m pretty sure only dogs could hear.

“Whoa…what? Slow down. You’re where?”

More screeching and garbled giggles and cryptic noises that sounded like words but in an unfamiliar language.

“C, slow down,” I implored.

“Mom, we’re feeling froggy. We got lost and we’re still about 2 hours away. We ran out of gas in the middle of nowhere and there was a gas station but it was closed so we had to pull over and ask a farmer and his wife if they had some gas and they did so it’s all good. We just wanted to let you know we won’t be there for about another 2 hours and not to worry.”

In the background, one of the other girls screeched, “OMG, it’s a dead deer!” which created  a shrill so loud I’m surprised the windows didn’t blow out.

Now, the only way to get the full impact of the first 2 minutes of this call is to gather together with 5 friends, suck on some helium, and record the passage verbatim. Then, play it back on double speed.  However, in the interest of your hearing, I don’t recommend it.

But, I digress…

Once I began to peel away the facts; lost, middle of nowhere, out of gas, ALL the cookies, I began to suspect I was being punk’d. I casually went along…”Uh-huh, middle of nowhere. You missed a turn. It’ll take another 2 hours before you get there. Farmer gave you enough gas to get to a station. Okaaaay…. Can I talk to A?” (My younger and very serious daughter who would never pull a prank like this.)

A gets on the phone and restated everything her sister had squealed. My stomach dropped. They had genuinely gotten lost and were now driving through the middle of nowhere. They had honestly run out of gas. And, they were really not going to get there until almost sunset. From somewhere in the background I hear, “Thank you for the cookies! They saved me!”  I think it was the young girl who had just gotten her braces off and had laser surgery on her gums only 2 days earlier. I immediately wondered if they shouldn’t begin rationing the remainder of their food and drinks– just in case they get lost again before finding the reservation set somewhere on 2.2 million acres of Wyoming wilderness. I ask to speak to C again.

“Are you all OK?” I ask, even though they’re obviously more than OK–they’re on a sugar high of epic proportions.

“Ya, Mom. We feeling froggy. Ya know. We’re froggin’ it.”

I thought back to the previous Sunday’s sermon. On the large screen behind the pulpit was a picture of a frog. Our interim pastor, in her slight Louisiana drawl, asked the congregation “Do we know what it means to FROG?” (Little did she know that the answer was plainly and prematurely displayed behind her.) Collectively, we snickered before she went on to explain that the acronym comes from St. Jude’s Hospital, where the little patients are given t-shirts with a frog on them and reminded to FROG: Fully Rely On God.

Slowly, I begin to let out the breath I didn’t even realize I’d been holding. My daughter again reassured me they were all “feelin’ froggy”, which is really all I could ask for of my girls and myself at that point. Immediately, I could see the blessings in the unplanned adventures of their day; the extra time for the girls to bond, the farmer and his wife who happened to be sitting outside as they drove by and just happened to have some spare gas, the laughter and the squeals of youth, and the chance to FROG.

C promised to call again when they safely arrived. I thanked her for calling and hung up the phone. “This is a test. This is only a test,” I thought. This is what life will be like far more often than not from here on out. Situations I can’t control as they move further and further from our nest. I promised myself that I would learn to FROG better, just as they are during their week away.

I served our dinner plates and turned my attention to my husband. With soft music playing and the lights dimmed, we raised our wine glasses and toasted each other and our two awesome girls. We were feeling pretty froggy, too.

How about you, are you feelin’ froggy today? 

About the watch: Knowing that I am a long time Kermit fan, my sister gave me that watch last month before my husband, girls, and I all headed out to California to take care of some family estate business. She thought it would bring me a smile if/when things got tense, and smiles it did bring me. Often. I mean, it’s Kermit, who is always “foot loose and fancy free.” How could I not smile when I looked at his little green face? Little did I know Kermit would come to offer me an important daily reminder, for which I am so grateful.

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17 thoughts on “We’re froggin’ it, Mom.”

  1. Great post, TM! I’m so happy that the girls were/are okay, and also that you and your hubby get a chance to enjoy some alone time and “test” the empty nest waters. I love the acronym “FROG”, and I sometimes do this, but most of the time (honesty being the best policy) I “FROG” in a different sense: “Frequently Relay On God”, ha, ha. That is, more times I turn it over than not these days, but I tend to hold just enough back to keep it interesting, darnit! 😉 I love Kermie, too. XOXO-SWM

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    1. Thanks, Kasey!!

      I tend to FROG more often than not in the same way you do. I hand “x” over, but then hold onto “y” thinking I can handle it, control it, or shouldn’t need help with it. And, interesting life does get. Haha!

      XOXO back at ya!

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    1. Isn’t that the truth! I often think about the courage my parents and sister had when my sister boarded a plane at the age of 21 to travel around the world–ALONE– for 9 months. This was over 35 years ago. Needless to say, a cell phone was not something that was packed in her bags.

      When I sent my older daughter to Mongolia for a month last summer, I knew I would have limited contact with her for most of the time she was there. (Cell phone services only worked with cell phones bought over there and she only had internet service while in the capital city.) I heard from her only two or three times during her first week there, and that was it until she landed in Seoul when she was on her way home. It was her chance to ask for chili for her homecoming meal. It was my chance to begin breathing again.

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  2. I also have had to learn the ‘FROG’ way of life here lately. One of my daughters who has been working at camp all summer decided that she will be going to college in Arizona this fall – instead of the school near our home that she had already signed up for! I was prepared for her to be gone this summer, but a years worth took me by surprise. I am so thankful that God loves us so much. He has promised to go through each day with us, no matter what that day has in store. Keep on FROGGIN!

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    1. YIKES! That is an “about face” in direction. It’s funny when we think things are going to go one direction, and we end up changing course unexpectedly. Sometimes, I think it is a blessing to not have too much time to prepare for and process the big changes that come in life. That’s when it’s essential to “Keep on FROGGIN'”! Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers as you begin a new chapter in your lives and your relationship.

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  3. Aaaw, I love this. The last week, I’ve been taking steps the right direction. It’s a magnificent thing, if a little strange to be letting go of the notion I can control all of what happens in my life around me. Some, certainly, but not all!

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    1. ” It’s a magnificent thing, if a little strange to be letting go of the notion I can control all of what happens in my life around me.”

      Isn’t that the truth! I’ve often joked that I’m a slow learner in the “surrender” department and that was the reason I ended up in a wheel chair for a part of my life. When your body gives you no other choice but to let go of the “unessential” and “unrealistic”, you’ve gotta learn how to FROG. (As I know you are learning all about, too. ♥)

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    1. Some days are tougher than others for me to remember to FROG. Ironically, one of the things we brought home from our trip out to my in-laws house was a large cement frog for the garden. He joined the many other “garden frogs” I already had in the yard and now I view each of them as a gentle reminder.
      If not a Kermit watch or a tattoo, maybe just a little toad for your kitchen window. But then again, a tattoo is easier to “take with you”–even in the shower.

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