For the past four years, a little guy by the name of Fish Fish swam in our aquarium. We bought Fish Fish at Pet Smart shortly after Scooter was born. My husband had finally decided to throw in the towel concerning his 90 gallon salt water extravaganza located in the basement. He was so excited when he set that tank up, but shortly realized that once the babies began to arrive, there was no longer "Me Time." That mixed with the fact that Wifey wasn't a fish lover, and refused to help support his salty habit.
So we went smaller...much smaller. This aquarium was set up in the office. No salt this time. We bought 2 fish: Fish Fish and Mr. X. (I can't actually remember Mr. X's real name since Fish Fish didn't seem to like being in the same tank with him and decided it would be funny if he chased him every chance he got. Needless to say, Mr. X quickly went into cardiac arrest.
Fish Fish soon enjoyed all the extra room. We talked about buying him a new friend, but based on what he did to his last friend, we decided that it would be a better idea if Fish Fish swam solo.
Days, then weeks then years went by, and Fish Fish still kept swimming. The children went from crawling to walking to attending school. They even learned to feed Fish Fish.
And then came yesterday.
I sat in the office chair working on the computer. Fish Fish always came out to greet me. Sometimes it took a while, so I didn't give it much thought when I didn't see him. After I finished my work I decided to look for Fish Fish. And that's when I discovered him. Laying so nicely on his favorite hiding place. Fish Fish had passed.
"Don't cry," I thought to myself. "It's just a fish." But it wasn't just any fish, it was Fish Fish. And it wasn't Fish Fish dying that brought a tear, it was the years gone by and the memories that took place with Fish Fish in the background. It was First birthdays, and presents surrounding the aquarium. It was fingerprints on the glass from babies trying to pull themselves into a standing position. It was lip smudges from toddlers giving kisses to their fish buddy. It was chair marks in the carpet from children who needed an extra inch to throw some food in the aquarium. And all at once, it's gone.
"So how do we tell the children,?" I asked my husband. Men have a way with words, there's no beating around the bush. So when he blurted it out to the children, I wanted to cringe. I would have handled it with much more care. But I'm a Mom, that's my job.
Surprisingly the boys handled it better than expected. One wanted to know if we could get new fish. The other asked if he could see the body?
"Excuse me?" What the heck am I raising? This has to be a bad dream. But then, there was today.
Scooter was sitting in the back of our minivan. We were on our way to Walmart. Suddenly, Scooter asked: "Can we say a prayer for Fish Fish?"
"Sure," I said.
And it went something like this:
"Dear God, please take care of my Fish Fish. Make sure he has a big aquarium that he doesn't have to share with another fish. Make sure he has plenty of food. And please remember to keep him away from the sharks. Amen.