It was a knee-jerk reaction, literally. My sons were outside, and my oldest had scooped up a small frog. My youngest, a two-year-old, probably couldn't remember seeing a frog ever before in his lifetime. My oldest son held out the frog, and I was encouraging my youngest to touch it (without touching it myself). The frog, apparently sensing the combined apprehension of both me and my youngest, hopped out of my son's hands and onto the patio. My youngest son promptly lifted his knee and brought his foot down on the frog, squishing it. Killing it instantly. And my older son erupted in screams that I'm sure could be heard several blocks away. The frog was dead. The two-year-old didn't understand what he'd done, and the six-year-old sobbed, devastated that his newest friend's carcass was flattened before him on the cement.
I'm not sure why I'm telling this story now. Maybe because it's spring, and the frogs and bugs already are taking over my backyard. Maybe because next week the frog killer is meeting a bunny killer (my sister-in-law's dog) and I just can't wait to see what fun those two have together. Or maybe because there's a lesson in the story somewhere. It remains, vivid, in my mind.