I Didn’t Do Right By My Daughter’s Fish

I feel guilty. I’m sorry, Jackie. I did not do right by your fish.

Remember that fish tank we had when you were in elementary school?

I’d flush their departed little souls down the toilet. And, the goldfish currently next to the bed in your room… I forget to feed them–often. I think you need to come home from college more to ensure the lives of those innocent fish.

Maybe, you’re right.

I should move the fish tank into the kitchen where they can’t be ignored. Are there even names for those two fish? At least I did better with your hamsters. If I remember correctly, we had quaint funerals for them before we buried them in shoeboxes in the backyard. Looking back, I definitely screwed up with the cats. When it was time to put them to sleep, they pretty much disappeared without fanfare. I thought it was just “easier” that way.

Please forgive me, and I’ll try to do better about feeding your fish.

Teaching Our Children To Respect Life

The Animals I Removed From My Backyard’s Pool

I admit it.

I wasn’t good with death.

Even scooping up nature’s drowning victims out of our backyard pool was a harrowing experience. The large opossum was the worst. I certainly didn’t demonstrate respect for those squirrels, rats, moles, and one large opossum. Before my children would wake up in the morning, I’d fling the smaller victims into the bushes and squeamishly bag the larger victims for Tuesday morning garbage pick up. However, I couldn’t shelter my children from the circle of life forever. When my daughter was around eight years old, she witnessed a traumatic event that still haunts her memory to this day.

Suggested Read: Children’s Grief Awareness Day: Supporting Children At Each Stage Of Development

Teaching Our Children To Respect Life

The Not So Skunk Friendly Neighbor

For about a week, we had the cutest litter of baby skunks meandering through three of our neighborhood yards. The adorable, stinky furballs bobbled after their mom even in midday. They’d wrestle and chase each other like a litter of puppies, and my kids were enamored by their playful antics. My next door neighbors were not as delighted. They knew the cute, little kits would soon be adult skunks. I distinctly remember an eight year old’s version of the apocalypse.

My friend and I were enjoying a serene, sunny, summer afternoon. Our kids played and periodically turned to watch the curious, baby skunks explore our neighbor’s backyard. Did I mention my neighbors had a koi pond, or should I say ‘deadpool’? You can probably predict what happened next. My neighbors emerged from their house, and one-by-one liquidated any future skunk problems.

Let’s just say, my daughter struggled to be neighborly to the problem-solving couple from that day forward.

Regrettably, I’ll never forget the children’s wide, horrified eyes and gaping mouths. My daughter was inconsolable, and my friend and I were both at a loss for words. In hindsight, we should have banded together as neighbors and hired someone to transport the skunks to another location–another check on my list of motherly guilt.

Teaching Our Children To Respect Life

Showing respect for all life gives children a reverence for our earth and its species. Children are the future conservators of our world. Between the growing list of endangered species, global warming, and loss of biodiversity, taking care of the earth and all of its inhabitants is more critical than ever.

Suggested Read: How to Help Someone Dealing With the Loss of a Pet

Today, I am moving my daughter’s goldfish tank into the kitchen.