When I was young and I would dream about being married and having kids, one thing I vowed to myself and my unborn children was that I would not lie to them. I would always be honest, brutally honest if need be.
And then I had this cutie.
And I kept my vow unit he was about 2 years old and his fish died. I don't do with death well, and he doesn't do with change well. So, I thought the best thing for both of us would be to, quietly and quickly, replace the said fish, which I did. And for a few days, no one was the wiser. Then about a week later, Einstein asked why the fish had changed color. I was shocked that he noticed...I mean normal two year old's would notice such a thing. But then again, he's not your average, normal kid.
So, what did I do? Well, first, I just ignored him, but that didn't work for long. Then I just kept saying that I didn't notice anything different. But he still wasn't satisfied. Finally, I gave in, broke my vow of long ago, and lied. I told him that the fish had been sick, so I took it to the doctor and the doctor gave it medicine. The fish changed color because the medicine was working and that was why the fish had changed color. He looked me in the eye and said ok and walked off happily. I felt so guilty for breaking my vow and for lying to my dear boy. But I guess not guilty enough because I did the same thing 3 more times over the next couple of years.
Flash forward to the present day.
As we were getting to leave yesterday morning, Einstein called me to his room. I walked in to find him staring at Chandler, his current beta fish. He looked at me with his big brown eyes, and asked with a bit a sadness,
"I think he's dead....or he's gonna die. Look, he's staying at the bottom of the bowl."
I looked a Chandler, something definitely didn't look right. He was floating rather closely to the bottom and kind of struggling to get to the top.
"Maybe he's hungry." I said. "Why don't you feed him right now and see what happens."
So, Einstein dropped a few food pellets in the water. Chandler struggled to get to the top to eat. At that moment I knew the end was nearing. And for a split second I started strategizing a way to have him replaced before Einstein came home from school. And then I stopped. Einstein is getting older, he's gonna be eight soon and I realized, I can't always shelter him from the little tragedies of life. So, every gently I explained that Chandler was getting old, for a beta fish, we had lived for a long time. And there was a possibility that he might die. And if that happened we could always get another one. Einstein stood in silence for moment; we both stood there looking at dear little Chandler. Then Einstein looked at me and said,
"I am sad, but's ok because I don't want him to be in pain, you know. And in heaven, he won't feel pain. And we can always get another Chandler at the pet store."
And then he went downstairs. I stood there proud of myself that I didn't lie to him about the state of Chandler, but perplexed that he thought his fish would go to heaven. Well, on the brightside, at least he didn't directly ask me if Chandler would go to leave. We'll just leave that for another day.