By Jenna Stewart—Flowers, butterflies, pretty pink dresses and ponies with ribbons—those are things many people typically think about when they think of little girls.
Yet, what about little girls who pet frogs? Or little girls who choose a Godzilla figurine over a princess doll? Well, that was me, a small, blonde-haired, squeaky-voiced little girl with an affection for Godzilla. My dad said he was shocked when his dainty, sweet two-year-old pointed at the ugly, plastic Godzilla with love and adoration, not fear in her eyes. He laughed, said “sure,” and the poorly painted Godzilla came to live with us.
I surprised my parents again shortly after Godzilla moved into my bedroom. I was around three years old at this point, it was summer and we were at the family cottage. From the small beach at our cottage I smiled up at my parents and said, “look daddy, I have made a friend.” And there I was, knelt down gently petting a frog! It just sat there and let me softly stroke its throat, head and back. We became friends that day, the frog and myself, and my parents once again laughed in disbelief at their little girl. Frog hunting became a staple activity at our cottage. We never kept them long, just long enough to say hi, give them a little pet, and then off they went on their way. I still to this day can convince a frog to be friends, although not with the ease and enthusiasm as my three-year-old self.
I don’t know if it was just natural to me or if my parents taught us this, but I always emphasized observing nature. To be able to just be in nature and gently interact with it, without obviously disrupting it, is a gift. I was granted this gift early on as a child and for that I am so grateful.
I was also blessed with parents who didn’t teach me about society’s version of what it meant to “be a girl.” I had a little brother, but during our childhood I was always encouraged do what he did and vice versa. Together we played with dinosaurs, batman figurines, stuffies and Barbies. There was no division as children – for children are just children.
I can’t thank my mother and father enough for this, for I had no limitations. I could do and be whomever I wanted, as long as I continued to live at the moral standard that they taught us. That moral standard included treating everyone and everything with kindness. I hope I can continue to pass on their message. Let children be children and treat the world not as yours to do with as you please, but to treasure as a shared home for all of nature’s wonders.
Remember that this home of ours is filled with magic, just not in magic’s traditional manner. I never did kiss my frog prince but that is because I never needed a prince. My frog friend was magic enough.
About the Author
Jenna is an artist, author and teacher. In 2014, she published her first book of prose and art called There Is This Place with Insightful Communications Publishing. With this prose she hopes to inspire her readers to see the magic and beauty in life’s simplest things. She illustrates for other independent authors and creates personal drawings and paintings commissions. Her work is almost always inspired by nature; her message is to remind us to nurture and appreciate it; and her passion is creativity in its infinite forms. Jenna also holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) degree from the University of Waterloo and is a certified teacher with the Simcoe County District School Board. There she brings her affection for creativity and the love of simplistic values to the classroom.
– “Sometimes, the most beautiful is the simplest.”