I have a hard time getting attached to living things. I am sensitive and am an over thinker. This is one of the main reasons that I did NOT want to let my kids get small animals, especially fish. Fish aren’t known to have a great life cycle and there are lots of things that can go wrong when owning fish. Don’t get me wrong, I love animals. We already have two dogs and a cat. My eldest son really really wanted a pet of his own and loved the idea of having a fish in his bedroom. We set up an agreement on what responsibilities he would need to show before I would consider it. A few months later after some hard work and growth on his part I gave in. We now had three pretty fish in our home.
About a month into being a fish owner my son went on a week long vacation with his Mimi. Left in charge of these three fish who will remain unnamed, I had a bad feeling. You don’t even have to guess what happened. Yes, half way through his vacation somehow the fish got a disease and two of the three passed away. My youngest son and I cried and said a prayer as we flushed away the sad little creatures. My husband and I decided we would wait for our son to come home to tell him the sad news. I was so worried how he would take it. After shedding quite a few tears I decided I needed to prepare so I went to the library. Here are three great books that I found that can be helpful for kids (and their oversensitive mothers): When a Pet Dies, Let’s Talk About When Your Pet Dies, and The Goodbye Book.
Before my eldest was scheduled to come home I made sure to read them with my youngest and we both found solace in the simple and comforting words. I was ready.
The day arrived and on the drive home from the airport we broke the news and I had my bag of books on the ready- my tone was gentle and arms open ready for cuddles. I was surprised with what happened….
In a voice much like Charlie Brown’s signature “Good Grief” he said “Oh, Mom!” rolled his eyes and asked if I was OK. While letting out both a sign of relief and a laugh because I should have known my logical, practical little boy understood the nature of fish and although he was bummed, that was just it. Not a huge ordeal, just part of life. I wish I had some of his strength and ability to rationalize.
That being said, he did read the books and enjoyed a little chuckle at my sensitivity.