Jump no more
Delray Beach, FL, December 2010
About this photo: We're winding down the latest Thematic theme, late (click here to share), and preparing for the next new theme, transitions. It launches tomorrow...watch for it.The scene: I'm shooting pictures around the edge of the pool while the kids wear themselves out in the water. They're old enough now that I no longer have to sit high up and watch them, hawk-like, like the lifeguard I once was. I'm still hyper-vigilant, of course, but I can also afford to pick up a camera and multitask a bit. One of the benefits of age, I guess.
I come across this frog floating in the pool. I carefully remove its clearly lifeless form because even frogs deserve to not end up sucked into the skimmer basket. I'm trying to avoid drawing attention to myself, as I don't want to upset the little folks. As I try to quickly remove the frog from sight, our youngest son notices what I'm up to and swims on over. I'm not going to fake this one: I have to admit the poor little fella is dead.
Noah pauses. In that moment, I can almost hear his mind churning, wondering what we do next. When he starts talking again, he's no longer the frenetic munchkin excitedly sharing Every Last Detail of his swimming adventures. He's quieter, more thoughtful, almost as if someone flipped a switch in him. He seems older, somehow, as he suggests finding a quiet spot to bury him. We both agree on the landscaped cedar-shingle bed behind the bushes at the edge of the pool.
"But you're going to take a picture of him, right Dad?"
I do. And we carefully walk behind the bushes and find a nice spot for him. "I bet he was a good frog," says Noah. I nod quiet agreement, thinking to myself that the growing boy who made this moment happen is pretty good in his own right.
Your turn: How do you explain death to a child?