I'm terrified of frogs and toads. Have been my whole life. I know, it's silly. Go ahead and laugh.
My mom thinks she passed it on to me. But I believe it also may have something to do with being raised in Colombia, the country with the most species of frogs in the world. I have memories of living in the boarding school for missionaries' kids in the middle of the Andes foothills. During rainy season, the frogs and toads came out in droves (or so it seemed to me.) They found their way in everywhere.
You'd go to take a shower and be washing up, all vulnerable and exposed. Then you'd turn around and see, in the folds of the shower curtain, a tree frog!! So now there's the dilemma of "How do I get out of here without that THING jumping on my little naked self?!!"
I learned to pray fervently in those times. "Please, Jesus, don't let it jump on me! Please, Jesus, get me out of here! God, why did you create frogs?? What were You thinking?" Really devout prayers for a 9 year old girl.
It didn't help that I lived in the dorm with a bunch of MK boys known for their mischeiviousness. If they had discovered I was afraid of frogs/toads, my life would have become a living hell. But fortunately, I wised up early on and acted all nonchalant when one of them would hold up a disgusting specimen of toadhood right in my face. Some comment like, "Oh, cool toad!" would take the fun out of scaring me with them and I was able to walk by inwardly shivering in revulsion but keeping my phobias to myself.
As an adult living in the midwest and southwest US, I've been able to avoid amphibians for nearly 20 years. But now that I'm in Florida with a home that is surrounded by nature, they're in my face again. Every time it rains, the cutest little toads start hopping through the yard. I say they're cute as long as they stay away from me. But last night was a different story.
I had tucked the kids in bed and they were already sound asleep. When I walked into my bedroom, there was one of those little toads! He was still cute but in a sinister way. I watched in horror as he hopped under my desk. I had some work to finish up on the computer and how could I sit there at that desk knowing at any moment, he could hop his repulsive little body onto MY FOOT??!! My mind raced as I frantically thought of how I could get him out of here and still stand safely on the bed. There was no way. I had to do something.
I toyed with the idea of spraying it with roach poison. But what if that didn't work but only made it really sick?? I didn't want the creature to suffer needlessly. I thought of my son's machete. I could try to kill the thing. But more than likely I would hack the floor to pieces in the process and then would have a disgusting murder scene to deal with. (Not to mention the guilt.)
So I did the only thing any phobic loving mother would do. I woke up my brave 10 year old son and patiently waited for him to come to full consciousness. Then I earnestly begged for his help. He valiantly came to my rescue and caught that toad with a cup and piece of paper. I stood on a chair and opened the front door while he tossed it out safely into the night. I told my son he was my hero and I meant it from the bottom of my heart! He said, "Sure, Mom" and went back to sleep.
I realize that some day I will have to face my fears. Who knows? Maybe I will grow fond of frogs and toads and even let my kids keep one as a pet. Someday, when Jesus comes back and there is peace once again between woman and amphibian. But for now, me and my phobia will keep a watchful eye out for little hoppers in the night. And if I see one -- well, I know where I can find a hero.