Two Years and One Day

Goldthia was the name she gave the fish that she received on her 3rd birthday.  She has been a part of our day to day life, sitting next to the kitchen sink, energized by the hum of activity that occurs around the kitchen several times a day.

I am fully aware, as I write this, that it is just a fish.  But let me tell you a little something this fish taught me yesterday. 

The last two times I cleaned the tank, I was annoyed by it.  I was waiting longer and longer between cleanings, which made each clean more difficult, and led to me having to discard some of the tank accessories that were too slimy *gag* to clean *gag* well *gag*.  

All my fault.  Totally guilty.  Yes, I said guilty, even after having written a post on guilt.  I was not taking care of the fish very well.  I was not treating its life with care. 

We fed it: I did that well ... forget a day or two, no big deal.  Easy going, low maintenance, but she held a certain presence.  The girls always asked to see her.  They always asked if they could feed her.

I had underestimated how much her presence meant to the girls; she had become so much a part of our daily routine.

I cleaned the tank yesterday, and cleaned it well.  I remember saying to myself, "no one else is going to clean the tank, so I may as well do it". 

I plopped Goldthia back in the water.  The fish bowl, other than the rocks at it's bottom, was bare because the fake purple plant was too slimy *gag* for me to deal with.  

Family came over.  I was asked if the fish was alive.  Yeah, I thought, she's just chillin at the bottom, like she does when getting used to new water.

Except, they don't skim the rocks upside down. 

I figured I had the night to figure something out.  But my oldest, to whom the fish was gifted on her 3rd birthday, came downstairs and asked if she could see Goldthia.


{Hello reality-that-could-not-be-delayed}

She sobbed.  It caught me off guard, just how much Goldthia meant to her.  I wasn't prepared yet to talk about life and death, even if it was just a fish.  It was not "just a fish" to her.  Oh how it broke my heart.  She would pull it together just in time to sob again. 

~~I plopped her in her tank after begrudgingly cleaning her home, and she died.~~ 

Yes it is just a fish.  But toward the end, I didn't treat her life with care, and I will always feel a little guilty about that.  It's a guilt that is easy to let go of (fish don't live forever, after all), but a lesson that is good to keep hold of.

Treat each other with care. 

After being with us for two years and one day, she is now contributing to the earth of our back yard, marked with shells shaped in a heart.  The girls preferred to think of her being near, and I kinda do too.  

 © Houseman 2013