*A post from Jay*
Roan got his first pet this week. His preschool was explaining the seven days of creation (don’t get me started on this), and in order to explain the sea teaming with sea creatures, they gave him a goldfish. In abstract this seems like a great idea – something I'd expect an enthusiastic young teacher to come up with. The reality… well.
I picked Roan up from school, and he ran to me with his usual big smile, giving me a hug and a kiss – a routine that will end one day, but for now is one of the bright spots of my day. He started babbling like crazy, telling me all the things he did at school, a bunch of mumbling interspaced with “color” and “school” and “sing” and “outside” and "soup”. He then started saying “fishey” and “fishey home”. I looked up, and there was his teacher, holding his fish in a clear, large plastic jar.
His teacher had told Cameron about the fish plan in the morning, so I was prepared. The fish already looked a bit sick, not surprising considering the size of his jar and that it was littered with way too much fish food, that it was almost 80 degrees in the school, and that Roan and the other kids had probably been playing with him all day. I scooped him up along with Roan’s things and we headed home. Unfortunately, Roan wanted to hold the fish, which caused a bit of jar shaking before I was able to convince him that the fish needed to sit in his own seat with a seat belt that snaps, just like Roan does. On our drive back I asked him what name we should give his fish. Roan responded, after much pondering, “Um… Fishey!”
After a bit more shaking while I tried to parallel park, we transported Fishey to the kitchen table. Roan sat at the table and had his snack, watching Fishey intently. Unfortunately, I hadn't had the time or the energy to pick up the proper gear (a large tank with things inside that Fishey could use to hide behind), so I switched him from the plastic jar to a Tupperware bowl filled with water at the proper temperature, and then went back to work, leaving Roan with Elizabeth, his new baby sitter.
When I got home later that day I noticed the tell-tale tilt of a fish on his last legs, angling 45 degrees, with his mouth almost out of the water. I quickly moved Fishey to the corner of the table, behind a picture frame, so that Roan wouldn’t catch sight of him. Throughout the rest of the evening Roan would ask me every few minutes about Fishey, and I would respond that Fishey was resting and could play later.
After dinner, some chasing, Wonderpets, teeth brushing, hand washing, books, serenading and finally sleep, I went over to the Tupperware bowl, each step filled with worry. Unfortunately, my fear was confirmed. Fishey was dead.
I teared up a little. I love all animals, and I was crushed that Roan’s first pet didn’t even last the day. I knew the odds were against Fishey from the start, but I had desperately wanted him to pull through. Looking back, I knew I could have done more to save him, which made me even more frustrated. I did make sure that Fishey got a beautiful burial at sea though.
We’re going to get a dog soon, and I know that Roan will likely forget all about Fishey and will consider this dog to be his “first” pet. But every time he says “Fishey?” or “Fishey home?” over the next few days, and he’ll ask plenty, my heart will ache a little.
Fishey Lyons - RIP