3 1/2 years.
i was making a boxed brownie mix tonight.
chuck norris, our beta fish, sits next to my kitchen aid mixer in the winter months.
the window sill just seems too cold for him unless it's summer.
i moved him to the counter a littler earlier this year, mainly b/c brennan's little fingers were getting into the water more frequently.
i feared the crashing sound and trauma of fish bowl all over my kitchen floor.
so tonight, while making brownies, i looked down as i added semi-sweet and white choc chips to my brownie mix.
chuck looked a tad white on his tummy.
wait, why can i see his tummy?
i've never seen his tummy before.
"sean, i think chuck is dead."
"what?! stop it."
"no really, i think chuck might be dead."
"he always looks dead. he's probably just sleeping."
i jiggle the bowl and turn it a few times.
"i really think he's dead. yup, he's dead."
"this is sad. are we going to bury him?"
"it's the frozen tundra outside, and i don't even think we have a shovel."
"does that mean we have to flush him? i don't want to flush him."
"he's been with us forever. how long have we had him?"
"3 1/2 years, almost to date. i fed him this morning. i don't know if he was dead or alive, but he was definitely alive yesterday. this is sad."
and now he is sitting in his bowl in the center of our kitchen island.
and i'm thinking,
how long do you mourn a fish?
why do you mourn pets?
do they go to heaven?
did i really just imagine chuck joining our family in heaven?
that's a little far fetched.
if it was a dog, would that be less far fetched?
maybe i'll go out tomorrow and buy a new beta to put in the empty bowl.
how long do you mourn a fish?
it seems really silly to mourn a fish.
but totally unloving to not.
is this the pregnancy hormones?
i think i would be sad even without them.
so, what am i going to do with chuck though?
flushing just seems wrong.
and then i wonder,
do i really want a new fish?
if i have a fish, does that mean i have a "pet" so i don't have to have any other pets?
we had "dick the fish" growing up.
sandie waited for us to notice he wasn't there anymore.
2 months went by before any of us noticed.
we didn't get another fish.
i think i'll get a new fish.
and we're back to what to do with chuck again.
do we name the next one chuck norris the 2nd?
or do we have a "dick the fish" of our own?
did we name "dick the fish" after grandpa dick?
do i really want another fish???
a eulogy for chuck:
you survived 2 elementary classrooms.
1 where a little girl in the back row really had it in for you.
you lived through brennan's birth.
this was a feat within itself.
we barely lived through brennan's birth.
i'm not sure if you were fed for an entire week after we brought brennan home.
your water wasn't changed until brennan was 2 weeks old, that's for sure.
you had classroom babysitters on winter breaks when i was teaching.
you came back once with 3 inches of water that had zero visibility one year.
you had the prettiest colors.
red and blue, mixed in and faded at the tail.
and the coolest name.
sean and nick named you from a Guinness world record book in my classroom.
you survived two moves from one state to another in an ice cream tub.
chuck, we'll miss you on our counter.
and for heaven's sake,
i hope you haven't lost your sense of humor;-)