Me: "Who has the best seat in the house, me or daddy?"

Adam: "Well, Daddy's is nice, but yours is best. Your's is squishier."

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Making Room

I almost can't remember a time when I didn't have a fish tank.  When I was about 10, Santa brought a tank for us, with a cute pair of fish for each kid.  I still have dreams about those fish, and forever in my mind Zack will have Swordtails and Kenny will have Tetras.  In college I always had a tank, and when Guy and I got married we set one up almost as soon as we moved in.  Over time, hundreds of fish have lived with us.  Some have decided to try their fin at flying and been found dead on the floor the next morning, all crusty and plastered with dust bunnies.  It has been a great opportunity to teach the kids about death, and about why sometimes limits are there to keep us safe.  The kids have used their own money to buy fish, creating a living lesson in finance.  Then there is the inevitable - when you own guppies or Jeweled Cichlids -  the reproduction lesson.  I can't count the times we have heard a child shout, "They had babies again!".  There have been lessons in biology as we deal with algae, diseases, water cycles, charcoal filters, Ph and more.  Oh, and the fishies are real perdy, too.

But we had gotten over-run with fish tanks.  At one point we had four tanks at 225 total gallons in our house.  It got to be too much.  One by one we have taken tanks down, and recently I considered having no tanks at all.  But then I thought about all that the kids have experienced through having fish here.  "Shish-y" is always one of our kid's firsts words, and a first sign language word.  Then there is the fun of hoisting a little two year old up to the tank to let them sprinkle food flakes into the water.  There is the thrill when you have to catch all of the fish to clean the tank, and the fright of one busting out of the brink and flopping on the floor. 

I thought about family reunions 20 years from now when Ethan or Adam might say, "Do you remember the time we had that tank...?" and having Jonah feel out of the loop.  It's not even about the fish, it's about continuity.  It's about trying to provide children of two completely different decades a similar upbringing when it comes to the things that matter.  Like shishies.

So I put a smallish 30 gallon tank back up in the living room.  Jonah loves to sit in his car seat and watch the fishies swim.  No, he won't remember that crazy 120 gallon tank that was just feet away from him when he was born, but that's OK.  I bet I already know what one of his first words will be.

Besides, we needed to make room for something else.....
(to be continued!)

No comments: