Friday, October 22, 2010
Shark Bait.... Ooo.. Ha Ha...
The fact that I saw, Tall Stack the moment she was born, and the fact that she is a much prettier version of me is enough to prove that I am her father. But, what really sealed the deal was, last Saturday, she won a goldfish at the school carnival and named him, "Frank" All of the other neighborhood kids named their fish traditional names like, Rainbow, or Bubbles. Nope, my kid named hers, Frank. I love it. I find a lot of humor in giving animals, people names. So Frank was just perfect.
We all remember being nine. The anticipation and excitement of tossing that ping pong ball into the yellow cup of water and winning that cute little goldfish. You can't wait to get him home and into that bowl. You can't wait to feed him and watch him grow. Such high hopes we had, didn't we?
Reliving this experience as the parent, knowing what the end result will be is a pretty uncomfortable place to be. As if some sick and painful right of passage that we cannot avoid looms on the horizon. We pray to God that that ping pong ball will bounce off the rim of that cup and end up on the ground. We hope that the face painting booth next door will divert the kid's attention. Of course this prayer on this day is answered. It just isn't the answer that we were hoping for. The look on her face when she won, Frank was priceless. She was so excited and couldn't wait to get him home. The Boss and I gave each other that look. We agreed without words to let this blissful moment commence without warning that within days, 3 at the most, we will be conducting a tearful ceremony over the toilet in the downstairs bathroom.
3 days came and went. Frank continued to do laps in his bowl as the rest of the neighborhood fish were dropping like flies. He has the heart of a lion, I thought. He is going to defeat the odds. 4 days and still going strong. "You are a warrior, Frank." I actually said this to him through the glass although I'm sure he didn't hear me over the swoosh of the water streaking past his head as he circled the bowl with lightning speed.
Day 5 was met with much different results. The laps around the bowl had ceased. The interest in life was gone. The offers of food, ignored. I was there when, Frank gasped his last breath of Target brand distilled water. The boss and I agreed that we must get rid of him before, Tall Stack got home from school.
"Who once came from the sea, must return to the sea." These were the words I spoke as I pressed the brushed steel handle of the downstairs toilet. And just like that, Frank was gone.
It's these moments of parenthood that make us appreciate our parents a little more. They make us love our kids a little more. And they make us wonder what lessons can be learned about life and death. Does surviving a mildly broken heart really make us stronger? I hope for, Tall Stack's sake that it does.