Friday, September 20, 2013

R.I.P. Dear Goldfish

Connor and friend Cooper stand next to Andrew Luck's locker.  In awe!

For the last several weeks, he was my companion in the kitchen. As I scoured pots and pans, he watched.  When I chopped veggies into little bites, he seemed to take notice.  He made no comments about my cooking (or lack there of).  On his place atop the kitchen counter, he frittered his days away, gliding around the confines of his watery home and nibbling on goldfish flakes.

He was Frito the fish and he was a part of our family for the last two weeks.  

Frito came into our lives at the Fall Festival.  Caleb made a lucky toss at a carnival game and won a coral-colored goldfish.  He was elated.  In Caleb's world, it was if he held the winning lottery ticket!

I eyed Frito with pity.  History taught me carnival fish last about as long as matching socks in our household.  But I wasn't about to dash the excitement in one son's eyes and so we brought Frito home with great optimism that perhaps this fish would be different; this fish would be a survivor!  

The first day home, I checked on Frito constantly.  Each time I expected to see Frito's lifeless body floating along the surface.  But he made it through that first day...and then the next...and then a week....and on it went.  Frito long outlived the fish that preceded him in that tank.  Things were going along swimmingly (literally) ...until yesterday.

Chris watched the boys in the morning while I went out for a run.  When I returned, I glanced over at Frito's tank.  Water stood in the tank, but its inhabitant was missing.  When I asked about Frito's whereabouts, Chris motioned to the commode.

Immediately, I worried about the boys' reaction.

"How did you break the news to the kids?" I asked.

Barely looking up for the computer, Chris said, "I told them Frito was dead."

"Were those your exact words?"  I moaned.  "You're an ER Doctor; you tell patients bad news all the time.  Is that your delivery?  Straight to the point?  Don't you have a gentler, more humane way of letting someone know a loved one has passed?  Why didn't you say something like, 'God needed one more goldfish in that celestial pond in the sky?'"

Exasperated, Chris said, "It's. A. Fish."

True, but he was our fish, if just for a little while.

Chris said the kids took the news in stride.  They were more concerned about the breakfast menu than Frito's fate.  It seemed the only one reacting to Frito's passing was me (the same person most reluctant to add him to the mix).

I pondered the reason for my reaction.  I realized that Frito added joy and excitement to the boys' lives.  They were constantly content to watch Frito swim laps around the tank.  In a world where entertainment gravitates towards fast-paced images, I appreciated the simple pleasure Frito brought to the boys.  And for that, Frito will be missed.  

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