When Frogs and Families Collide
Time can be a difficult commodity to come by particularly in the kind of society we live in. Our houses are busier than ever, and if we’re not careful, busyness and distractions can allow our homes to become more like a bus stop or hotel rather than a comforting, nurturing environment God intended them to be. It takes effort to make a house into a home.
One important key to investing in your family is time. It is vital that you carve out time to have fun together as a family and, even more importantly, to have fun with your spouse. It becomes complicated to find time for this when you get up early, work long or extra hours to get as much done as possible from sunup to sundown. The schedule is complicated even more when both a husband and wife are working because even if they are working the same schedules—which often isn’t the case—they wave goodbye to each other as they rush out the door to work in the morning. They come back in the evening, both thoroughly spent. After all that, it’s difficult to relate to each other in a positive way in that condition.
Now, you will have seasons where the pace of life is faster than others. Usually this is when you have young children at home. Walk through this scenario with me for a moment. Whether it’s the husband or wife, the primary wage earner gets up early in the morning, heads off to work, and waves goodbye on the way out. The other spouse may drive kids to school or daycare and then head to a job or various errands. Both come back late that evening, exhausted, only to be greeted by the other spouse who ran out of energy around noon.
Then we have the time from five to eight in the evening that often looks like it came out of a B-grade horror movie somewhere. I’m talking bottles, diapers, baths, dinners, spills, messes, getting the kids in the tub, getting them out, getting on their pajamas, and putting them to bed. Then finally after the tenth glass of water has been delivered and all the toys are picked up, the husband and wife stagger toward the bedroom to get to bed. Deep conversation isn’t on their minds, and the likelihood that both spouses are interested in anything romantic is usually slim. Keeping connected through an uncontrolled pace of life is a major challenge—but not impossible.
I think back on that time of our lives with fear and trembling. I thank God that we got through it. I remember one time our family had been through about six to eight weeks where all three of our children had had some sort of sickness from earaches to runny noses. We had been up all night almost every night, off and on for five to six weeks. Plus, I had things going on in my business. I was trying to travel and be out of town. We had nearly reached the end of our rope until one night, a miracle happened. Everybody was in bed by eight o’clock!
We used to have these small, screened-in cages for crickets, worms, whatever critter you wanted to put in it. Each box had a handle on it and you could carry it around, while keeping an eye on the critter inside. Sometimes our two boys would head off to a swamp near our house, catch a few frogs, and put them in the critter carrying cage. Sometimes they would play with them on the floor and see which frog would jump the farthest. But before we went to bed, we always made sure the critter cages were emptied of their contents.
One particular night, the boys had caught frogs in the afternoon and brought them in the critter cages into the house. Later when we were trying to get the kids to bed, I passed Lynne while I was carrying our daughter, Lucy, to the bedroom after her bath and Lynne was going the opposite way with the other two kids. I mentioned to Lynne, “Let’s not forget the frogs.”
Needless to say, we forgot the frogs, and the latch on one of the cages hadn’t been tightened that well.
So after all the kids were in the bed at eight—again, it was a miracle—we sat down on the couch together and looked at each other… what should we do now? For six weeks we had been like ships passing in the night, living kind of disconnected.
We looked at each other. She got a gleam in her eye and I got a gleam in my eye and we ran off to the bedroom. We climbed into the bed together and embraced. As we started to kiss, the door flung open and Lucy screamed, “Ahhh! There are frogs in my room!”
You can guess what had happened. The frogs jumped out of the critter cage and began hopping around. Lucy was very frightened of the frogs, so we just put her in our bed and started on a hunt for the frogs. We quickly learned that the frogs wouldn’t croak when everybody was stirring, making it impossible to locate them. We had to sit quietly and wait for them to start croaking again to determine where they were.
Soon, we had a symphony going. One would go “whirrr.” Then another one croaked “burrr.” We searched for those frogs about four hours. Finally we just gave up and went to bed with Lucy between us sucking her thumb. I said, “I feel like we’re in Egypt. I’m Pharaoh and our house is being judged.”
Lynne leaned over Lucy and said, “Well, I’m Moses, and he said, ‘Let my people go!’”
No matter what stage of life you are in or how connected you feel as a family, the most important thing you can do is invest time in each other. You may spend two to three days or longer where you don’t have the opportunity to connect with each other. In those moments, it’s good to reassure your spouse or your children that it’s just a season and you will reconnect.
Mothers, I’m sure you can relate in some way to that crazy moment in our lives. Trying to connect with your husband while taking care of a family can be difficult, but it is possible. As you keep your priorities straight—God, husband, family—you will see the reward of a healthy, committed home environment.
For the rest of you, it’s easy to get caught up in the habits of life and forget to say “thanks” to our parents for catching frogs in the middle of the night for us. That’s why Mother’s Day is a wonderful time to invest in your mom. Send her a card, call her, thank her, spend time with her. Do what she loves and remind her you care.
Happy Mother’s Day. Moms, we are blessed by your courage, strength, and beauty. Have a beautiful day, and I hope your family spoils you.