It’s been a hard day in the Kid Kingdom. Today we lost our beloved friend, Mrs. Fishy. Some knew her as Fishy Friend. Others called her Nemo. In the 7 months we had her (not even knowing if it was in fact a ‘her’), we never could decide on an actual name. But we loved her just the same, and she will be missed.
Tommy won Mrs. Fishy at the county fair last August. I was less than thrilled. I didn’t even want him to play the game. But my husband, a fish addict, grabbed the boy before I could protest and coached him through it. “All you have to do is get the little ball into one of those bowls with the fish and you win!” The boy could barely get a balled up pair of socks into the dirty clothes hamper. There was no way he was gonna get a tiny ball into a tiny bowl from 5 feet away.
I assumed…hoped…he’d be dead by the time we got home. But of course he wasn’t. And later that night after we stopped by Kroger for some fish food and gave him a new home in one of my glass vases, Tommy told me it was the best night of his life.
“Aren’t you SO happy we have a fish?!?!”
“Oh, yes, Sweetie. ” I lied.
Mrs. Fishy sat on my kitchen counter day after day getting healthier and golder and happier. And eventually she even grew on me. I noticed when I’d cook dinner, she’d swim over to my side of her bowl and watch as I stirred batters or chopped veggies.
She did tricks, too. Well, as close to a trick as a Goldfish can do. Each night before bed we’d come over to feed her and she’d swim to the top of the vase and blow bubbles. Tommy always got a kick out of this. I was just happy we had a fish with a personality! I hear they’re hard to come by.
Her death came suddenly. This morning we noticed she wasn’t swimming about in her usual early morning frenzied way. My husband told Tommy, “I think your fish might be a little sick.” Tommy peaked in the bowl and said, “Nah. She’s just tired. She was up late last night.” He went off to school without another thought of it. Fishy Friend died shortly after he left. I found her at the bottom of the vase. No bubbles. Just one big desperate eye looking up at me.
Telling Tommy was difficult. To ease the pain, we had McDonald’s for lunch. While he ate his nuggets and fries, he kept telling me about how fun school was and how it was a “super great day”! It made me sick to my stomach…though that could have just been the McDonald’s. Luckily, my husband is home this week, and he’s the one who broke the news. After every last fry was gone he put a hand on Tommy’s shoulder and said, “Son, while you were at school, Fishy Friend didn’t make it.”
Tommy’s eyes nearly popped out of his head. “Did he die?” I slowly shook my head yes. He then jumped up and scooted his chair to the kitchen counter. He took one quick look at his friend and then ran to the couch, tears streaming down his face. He asked the same questions any grieving person would ask; How did this happen? Why did this happen? Why now? Will the fish game be at the Fair this year so I can win another one? It was actually very sad.
Mrs. Fishy had a water burial. Tommy delivered her to the toilet and then gave a touching prayer. “God, I know Fishy Friend is up there with you. Please remember to feed him before bed every night.” Steven flushed the toilet while I held on to Tommy’s shoulders and held back my own tears. I kinda wish I’d broken out into Amazing Grace. The acoustics in the bathroom are fantastic!
All kidding aside, Mrs. Fishy…Fishy Friend…Nemo…was a small, but positive member of our family and we will miss him/her. While we grieve, we’ll remember the happier moments with this tiny friend and take comfort in knowing he’s in that big fish tank in the sky.