“Please, please, please!” My daughter begged through her sobs. “We need to save him!”
A bubble of snot formed under her tiny nose. It wasn’t long ago that the bubble would have distracted her from her sobs and thwarted the panic that filled her brown eyes. But now, at seven, she is not as easily distracted. And why should she be? Her best friend is missing. Froggie is gone forever, according to my baby girl.
I picked her up into my arms, even though her mother and I had already weaned her off being carried. Her red face twisted with the sorrow of a child whose whole world revolved around a single toy and then lost that toy. Her face still fit into the crook of my neck, it was warm and wet and I rubbed my hand along her back. It didn’t stop the sobs.
“Calm down for a moment sweetie so you can tell me where you left Froggie.”
“I don’t know!” She sobbed. Her fists moved to her eyes and I had to readjust her weight as she flailed. “One moment it was in my bicycle basket and the next – “
Another sob ripped from her throat.
“It will be okay, honey. We’ll retrace your steps.”
She inhaled a breath and the air wedged in her throat, forcing her to cough out more sobs.
The area my daughter is allowed to ride her bike is limited, only around the block. So while carrying her, I walked down the driveway and onto the street.
“Froggie must be scared.” My sweet girl whispered into my neck. “It’s so dark and what if a fox comes?”
The sun was only starting to set. There were no predators in the area but still I reassured her. “We’ll find him before anything happens.”
It took another ten minutes to turn the corner of our block and see, sitting in the middle of the street, as if waiting for my baby girl to come and claim him: Froggie, still smiling.
“Daddy! You’ve saved him.”
She hugged me hard then, as hard as a seven year old could hug and for a moment I didn’t want to let her go. “You helped, Sweetie.”
“Let me down, let me down!” She wiggled her way out of my arms and ran towards her plastic smiling friend. For a moment I wondered if that would be the last time I would carry my not-so-little-girl. Inexplicably, tears sprung to my eyes as I watched her run.
“Froggie! Froggie” She hugged the toy close to her chest. “We saved you!”
Photo Credit: Mandy Smith