Thursday, September 25, 2014

When a Boy Wins a Fish

This past weekend Luke won two goldfish from our church's carnival. He named them Apricot and Shiny. 

Apricot and Shiny lived in their plastic baggie until Monday afternoon when I frantically remembered that I needed to get them into something bigger. I emptied a glass jar that contained seashells, ironically. 

Here they lived and swam and enjoyed the hubbub of life with a family. 

That is until Wednesday mid-morning when I noticed Shiny was lying awfully still at the bottom while Apricot seemed to sort of gasp for breath at the top of bowl. 

I wasn't sure how Luke would respond once he was home from school. It took him a bit to say anything but, surprisingly, he didn't break into huge tears like I was anticipating. We decided we would see if anyone had a tank and aerator for sale and if so, we would get it for Apricot.

I did find what was needed and had arranged to pick the supplies up later in the evening. Luke was gone for supper but the other two were here when Ben noticed Apricot swimming sideways and sinking to the bottom. Apricot would swim desperately around the bowl then float listlessly to the bottom. Essentially, the kids were watching the fish die.

 So many thoughts ran through my head today about this whole situation.

  • Winning goldfish from a carnival is like a classic childhood dream come true. 
  • Seeing Luke love his fish and care for them- making sure they didn't get jostled at the carnival, making sure their water didn't spill while he had to play a soccer game before we got home, insisting that I move them into a container while he was at school- was making it worth the hassle.
  • Even though I waited quite a while to find the proper equipment for them, I was still concerned for how he might respond when he found out one was dead.
  • Unfortunately, I found it funny watching Audrey and Ben watching Apricot die. Maybe I should have talked it out with them a bit more? Nah. If the 8 year old gets it, so can the 16 and 12 year olds.
  • I was sort of happy that I wouldn't have to spend any money on our free fish. Free carnival prize? Hah! I was totally going to deduct the cost of set-up from our fundraising pledge. (just kidding)
But here's the main thing I thought of all day long. Years ago at a women's retreat, our pastor's sister shared some things about their mother. One of the things she said their mother did was let them have all kinds of pets. From how she described it, it sounded like they had a multitude of pets and wild and crazy ones at that. I'm sure it came at no small cost to their family and her personally to house and care for them. Marie did it because she wanted her children to learn about God's creation and caring for them. About the cycle of life and death. That story has always stuck with me. Now here was that story happening to us. It caused me to readjust my heart in the matter. 

Not enough, however, that I'm going to go out and buy replacement fish. (The person who was selling me the tank was very understandable to the situation.) 

P.S. Never underestimate the entertainment factor of flushing fish down the toilet. I bet Marie had that in mind, as well.   


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