For Christmas, the boys got new fish to go in our old fish tank. They had been asking to have it set up for a while, and this was the right time. They helped get it washed out, filled, and set up. Then we went to the pet store, and they spent quite a while discussing which type of fish they wanted to get. Eventually, they settled on neon tetras, glass cats, guppies, and a plecostomas. And, as happens often, after only 3 weeks, we had death in the tank.
turned on the aquarium light one morning last week, I noticed a guppy
laying on the bottom. And upon closer inspection, found the other guppy
dead also. Not exactly what I wanted either boy to wake up to, but they
took it pretty well. I suggested that we give them the "traditional"
flush burial. They wouldn't have it. The fish had to be buried in the
yard, next to their other dead fish from a year ago. The older one ran
to the kitchen, and came back with a tupperware container to put them
in, saving the burial for after school.
I assumed they
would forget. I was a little concerned that I would have these dead
guppies in my fridge for a week. But that's not what happened.
No sooner had we gotten home from school when I heard both boys
whispering. The fridge opened, and the guppies came out. They got their
coats and rainboots on, and went to the garage. When I offered to
help, I was told, "Mama, these were our fish. We need to take care of
So I stepped back to watch. They got out the shovels, picked two spots and began digging. When the little one got cold (it was pouring
outside - a day of record-setting flooding around the area), the older
one stepped over, zipped his brother's coat, and pulled on his hood.
Then they got back to work. Each fish was picked up gently out of the
container, laid into the hole, then the hole was covered with their
hands. When they were done, they put the shovels back in the garage, put
their wet coats and boots away, and went to wash their hands.
I couldn't have been more proud. So responsible. So grown up. Working together, taking care of each other. Respecting life.
It was one of those things I don't ever want to forget.