In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Goldfish Woes

I hate goldfish.
Especially when they are floating on their sides in the fishbowl.
Right now I really, really hate the one my caboose kiddo found this afternoon. It was her favorite one. And it was doing the dead-fish float.
So she bursts into hysterical sobs, as only a heartbroken 7-year-old can.
Of course, my husband was at work at the time. So, I scoop the dead goldfish out of the bowl and dispose of it, hoping Christa doesn't hear the tell-tale flushing sound.
No ceremony there.
Then I sit on the couch and wrap my arms around my daughter, trying to comfort her. She is inconsolable.
"Why do all my fish have to die?"
This is why I didn't want to get the stupid fish in the first place. Goldfish aren't very hardy.
"Life is so unfair."
Well, yes, that's true. I'm sorry she's having to learn that lesson so early in life. But it won't be the last time life is less than fair for my daughter.
"Can we get another fish that won't die?"
Tricky question, that one. There are still two goldfish, which are black, swimming around in the fishbowl. I dread looking at the bowl, fearing that I will see them floating rather than swimming.
I hold my daughter and tell her I love her. I tell her I'm sorry her fish died. And I try to avoid telling her, "Yes, we'll get another kind of fish that won't die."
Part of me wants to help my daughter avoid heartache. It's part of my mommy-makeup. But, I've got three adult children and I know that no amount of prayer and protection can prevent my chilren from experiencing pain--little ones that feel like catastrophes, like the loss of a goldfish, and big ones, like the loss of a friendship or a dream.
No promises have been made. For now, I'll just try to understand that she loved that stupid goldfish.

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