• Helen Jean Wils

How Did I Get Here?


As a kid, I remember my dad laughing as he listened to "Once In A Lifetime" by Talking Heads. I can hear him repeating, "Well, how did I get here?" through smiling lips. Now, as a mom of three *precocious* kids, I know why this struck him as hilarious; he was legitimately thinking, "Is this real life?"


I may not have had this epiphany if not for a dead frog in the garbage can that's ruefully housed in our pantry.


Let's go back a few days...


I'm busy doing something and when I've un-busied myself Daphne says, "Mom, there was a frog that must have gotten killed by our sliding door. When I opened the door to let the dogs out, it fell on the doormat. I grabbed a spoon (vomit) and put him in the garbage."


This is when I look down in the empty sink to find a hammered stainless spoon from Pottery Barn in the sink. Her story is adding up and I'm wondering how I'll ever use said flatware again. I walk over to the pantry and open the door to find a frog on its back mere INCHES from the shelves of snacks (double vomit). I'm talking splayed out and ready-for-dissection status.


Now I'm spiraling.


Why do I keep my garbage in the pantry? Why do I not have a lid on it? What kind of ANIMAL am I?


Now I'm questing my spawn's thought process.


"Um, why a spoon? Why the garbage? Why not pick up the doormat and throw the dead frog outside?"


She had no answers.


I put on my big girl pants (Just kidding: I was already wearing mom jeans.), tied up the garbage bag, and brought it to the bin outside.


I picked the right moment, later that evening, to regale Danny with the story. It was as he was spooning the gluten-free Penne Arrabbiata into a casserole with ricotta and mozzarella that I explained, in gory detail, the disposal of Ill-Fated Froggy. He immediately pulled his shirt collar up over his nose, the way he does when he changes a dirty diaper, and I knew he was gagging under there and thinking,"Well, how did I get here?" I'm amazed that he was even able to eat dinner.


Here's the lesson we imparted to Daphne: Do not throw dead amphibians in the pantry garbage.


"HOW DID I GET HERE?"

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