All Fish Go to Heaven or ...

One of my boys absolutely loves fish. All fish. Sharks included. Seriously, we are obsessed with sharks but basically, we love anything that lives in the water. This explains why we recently became the proud owners of a one-gallon aquarium and two live guppies named Felipe and Taco. Felipe and Taco were great fish. The five of us humans spent hours watching them in the entire month we had them.  We'd feed them at night before bed and aside from an unfortunate incident where the child who calls them his pets thought they were extra hungry and dumped an entire bottle of food in the tank, we seemed coexist well with fish.

Sadly, upon arriving home today, my Fish Child ran to his room to check on his pets.  As I was pulling out leftovers to heat up for dinner, Fish Child ran into the kitchen to report that one of his guppies had gone missing.  I finished the task at hand and promptly went to investigate the case of the missing guppy. Unfortunately, much to Fish Child's disdain, Felipe the fish had gone on to meet his Maker. "Fish Child", I said, "I'm so sorry. It seems that Felipe may have gotten stuck behind the filter and he is now dead".  Crying erupted. We mourned the loss of our beloved Felipe and three other children came running in to see what was the matter.  It was determined by all that Felipe was in fact, deceased. This fact was soon met by a rather lively debate about whether or not Felipe's eyes were open or closed and why.

As a Mom, explaining to your child that someone they love has passed on from the world can be a delicate and challenging task.  Sadly, my children have had some experience with loss so we able to tackle this one with grace. We talked about Felipe with love and although we didn't have him for very long, we loved him and would miss him. Concern quickly shifted to Taco (the surviving fish, not dinner).  Fish Child reported that Taco was now lonely and crying because he'd lost his brother and was all alone. At this point, we decided that it was in Taco's best interests that we get a new fish after dinner. We removed Felipe from the aquarium and just as the "fish man" at Petco had instructed us, we put him in a Ziploc bag, placed some water in a jar as a sample and set them aside to return to Petco after dinner.

As I was finishing dinner, Fish Child, decided it would be best that he call his grandparents to report the unexpected loss of one of our family members.  Unfortunately, the message was lost through the tears accompanying the call and I had to interpret what was happening as Grammy and Granddad could not understand who had passed on over the crying. The other girl child, who's quite often too smart for her own good, did her best to interpret to Grammy what was happening "Grammy, one of Waylon's guppies died. You know, a Guppy. It's a type of fish. A guuuuupppppy and it's dead!" Unfortunately, the call ended rather abruptly and my phone was placed on the counter as I hastily rushed to put dinner on the table.  In the meantime, another one of the four children passed by and observed that my phone had been left open to my "Favorites" list of contacts. Recognizing one of them as her "Aunt", said child insisted that she must call and check on her Aunt. I allowed the call to be placed and upon her answering, Auntie was promptly notified of Felipe's untimely departure as well. The conversation went as follows:

Fish Child: "Aunt K, one of my guppies died".
Aunt K: "I'm so sorry. He's in even Heaven now".
Literal Child Who's Too Smart for Her Own Good: "Uhhhh, no he's not; he's in a Ziploc bag on the counter".

Aunt K's end of the line grew silent.  As I stirred the pot on the stove, I snickered as long as I could keep it in but eventually, it became a full blown laugh.  Life is never dull around our house. We have so much love for life and so much learning happening non-stop that it's sometimes overwhelming. As I think back to our very humble less than 3 pound starts in the world, I'm amazed at how smart and funny these four personalities have grown into.

As for the rest of the story, we eventually made it to Petco.  We came home with not one guppy, but two more (with a promise that if these do okay, we'll get another one in a couple weeks so we have four guppies just like we have four kids). The new guppies are Goldie and Catfish. May they live long and prosper. And avoid Ziploc bags.


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