I had to add an update at the bottom...
The fish died and I didn’t want to tell my three-year old daughter. I didn’t want to have the death talk. She is still talking about the cat I took to the cat doctor who didn’t come back. She was two. What two year old would remember that? She didn’t even remember when I took her to Disney World, Universal and the Holy Land Adventure when she was two. She doesn't remember when we went and got our newer cat together.
I told her I took the fish to work. She seemed fine with that. Two days later she wanted to visit him. Then she wanted him to come home. I promised her I’d bring him home today.
Today Nemo 3 came home from work with me. Promise me you won't tell her there was a Nemo 2.
He/she lasted less than a week after Nemo 1 who lasted about two weeks. Thanks grandma for bringing that first fish home.
This time at the pet store I didn’t look at the feeder fish in the big tank to see if they were cute or in need of “saving”. I looked for the one who reminded me the most of my ex. This way if he goes, I won’t feel so so bad. Last time I thought I was saving a goldfish. Now I’m pretty sure I’m dooming it - and not because it reminds me of anyone.
You’d think this 39 cent goldfish would stay alive. I spent over $30 on accessories and pet care for it. It needed a fish bowl, water treater and food. Today the guilt drove me to buy a second bowl so I could let the water sit in one bowl while the fish swam in the other. Any good fish parent knows you can’t just put the fish into tap water. It has to sit for at least 24 hours to let the chlorine settle.
I’ll use the purifying drops and water which sat. I'll feed you just the right pinch of food. I'll keep the cat away and the room warm. Please goldfish work with me here, not against me.
I’m not into the idea of goldfish angels, flush funerals or disposable pets.
Death is just one of those things I want to avoid talking about. There’s no reason to talk about it yet. I can’t think of any other topic that’s more scary and final. It’s not monsters in the closet or lightening. Adults are afraid of death. As a mom it worries me. As a single parent it worries me. This is a huge reason I moved back to Florida from NY so I could be closer to my family. This is why I spend so much time with my sisters and their families. Even with no parents, my child won’t be alone. I’m super lucky my sister and her husband would raise my kid better than anyone I’ve ever dated or married. But as for death and my daughter, I’m not going to open her mind to that fear yet. I don’t want her to worry about what could be. Anything could be. I’m the one who worries about the could be. I’ve signed into the Florida pre-paid college plan, I warn her about the dangers of smoking, I tell her I love her often and a lot, I keep a journal of fun and happy memories for her, and I do what I can to plan for the unknowns.
I’d much prefer she performs an encore of her song “My grandpa’s dead”. She chanted this verse over and over while walking around the mall one day, a true story and an event that was triggered by causes unknown. My dad died when she was 7 months old. She gets the big picture that he’s not coming back but not the details.
So I don’t have any answers about the big idea of death. I do know what to do about the goldfish. I’m on the buy nine, get one free plan.
The cat at the beginning died of old age. The other cat is four now and thriving just fine. May the talk elude our family for a long, long, long time. Then I'll know exactly what to say. Saying nothing is fine with me.
....An update since I posted this two days ago. Nemo 3 went to "work" with me this morning...I think Nemo 4 is going to be made of plastic.