Me, Mommy

Fish in a Bag

My kid got a fish from a school festival. The wonderful, heartwarming story of how he obtained this fish should be reserved for another time, but just know there are still great people in this world.

Now, while I’m so thankful for this fish that’s already brought so much joy to the family, let me say, free fish sure are expensive.

We already have a Betta fish. He was our first family pet and he’s been with us for 10 months. I chose that type because they only require a somewhat small tank and minimal care. We feed it daily and mommy cleans the tank weekly. Apparently the fact that I clean fish poop out of a tank is the thing that rocks my kids’ comedic hearts. They laugh profusely about it every Saturday morning. I don’t find the humor myself.

This new fish is a goldfish. Night one, I had no clue how to care for this tiny creature frantically darting around in a bag. This terrified me. I was now solely responsible for this teeny life in our home. Moms are supposed to just know these nurturing things. Instead I was looking up pet store hours to see how late I could make a replacement run when it inevitably dies.

After everyone went to bed I quietly walked up to this new family member and we had a chat. I didn’t exactly threaten him, that would be crazy. Right? No, I merely suggested he stick around a while so I wouldn’t have a heaping pile of kid tears in my lap the next morning. I think we had an understanding.

The next morning he was still swimming, so I quickly drove to the nearest pet store. Alone. Being an indecisive bargain shopper, this was a big mistake. I was determined he only had minutes left to survive without a tank, so I continued on anyway. I wheeled the cart into the store so fast the cashier dropped her cell phone. Fish! I screamed. Shaking, she pointed to the back of the store.

I circled the aisles 4 times. Where do I even start? I should have researched this. I felt helpless. Pep talk time. You have a degree, you’ve given birth, you’ve worked several jobs, you’ve had an elaborate tropical fish tank before. You can figure this out by yourself. You’ve got this! Right!

I then promptly asked for help.

The fish expert informed me I needed a 10 gallon tank. The fish is the size of my thumbnail. Isn’t that excessive? I looked at her bright purple hair, considered doing the same to mine, then quickly refocused. In complete fish overload I slowly backed away from her as she was still talking about aquarium mansions and ran out the door. I hope I didn’t hurt her feelings.

I raced to the next store. Even more choices, but now I had a plan. I found a starter kit tank, food, water conditioner, little tank accessories and walked out extremely proud of myself. I bet there’s never been anyone smiling so big carrying out a fish tank.

I let my husband take over when I got home. I needed to rest after such big decision-making. He set everything up. Meanwhile, I was chatting with the fish again. This time I bribed him with a girlfriend if he made it through the week. He seemed ok with this arrangement.

He’s been happily swimming in his new apartment tank and the kids love him. Hopefully he’s not too upset we didn’t go with the luxury penthouse tank they tried to sell me. I guess now I’ll have to keep my end of the deal and get him a girlfriend, and so the fascinating fish saga continues.
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