15 October 2009
Fluffy Jo Thefish
I have sad news.
My good friend Fluffy Jo Thefish has gone to that great puddle in the sky. Yes my friends, Good'ol Fluffy has passed from our world, and into whatever world is next for little fighting fishies.
Okay, honestly, he was a fish. Not a bad fish as far as pet fish go, but it isn't like he cuddled with me at night, or tickled my heartstrings with his flippers... he was a fish. He sat on my desk at work for a couple of months, and was regularly tormented by my students. So much so that when I brought him home over spring break, he actually changed color, and became a much more friendly creature. Thus, he became a new household pet. He seemed much happier on the shelf in the kitchen and Teh ShortBus thought it was cool to have a fish, so Fluffy became part of the family.
Fluffy had not been looking at all well in the days leading up to last weekend; slightly pale, not very active or interested in food, pouting. I had a feeling he was on his way out, and when we arrived home Sunday night indeed he was afloat, belly up. Of course, I grieved in my own way: texting his namesake, and letting her know that little tiny sushi was on the menu for the night. Fluffy would have wanted it that way. I thought briefly of the ShortBus, and figured if he noticed, then I would explain it to him.
Apparently, he noticed. I would love to say I was there, that I was the one with him to talk with him about it, that I explained it to him and he understood. I would love to say that I am the one with the story about how he asked if he could say good bye, and when told yes he went outside and yelled toward the sky, "Good-bye Fluffy! I love you!"
Alas... it was not me. Once again, I was not there for one of the Very Important moments in my child's life. CSB did a fabulous job discussing it with him and explaining it to him, and I'm happy he did. In fact, I can not thank him enough for the care and concern he showed the ShortBus, he really is a kind and brilliant man. The problem is, he isn't me. Those moments which are so important in the moment, I am missing out on more and more of them.
Not only with the divorce, and my having to go back to work, and having to go back to school so I can continue to work, but also just by virtue of a child growing up. More and more of those times begin to happen outside of our home.
As a stay at home mom, I was lucky enough to experience hundreds of firsts. I savored each one, cherished it as my own before sharing it with everyone else. I knew that I wouldn't always get every single first, I would have to share those moments. It seems like forever ago that my parents called to tell me they had given ShortBus his very first taste of ice cream. I had the opportunity to experience that first through their eyes, and I was thrilled that they were able to have a first of their own. At the same time though, I was sad that I hadn't been there to see it. As the firsts get fewer and further between, they seem to carry a bit more weight and importance. I know I will still get to be there on occasion when they happen, but as our children grow older they begin to start experiencing those firsts on their own.
It is scary to look at a five-year old and think, "I hope I have done my job well enough that he can begin to make the right choices on his own." But, if we've done it right, as parents, we start to pull away and let our little fishies venture out of the puddle... little by little. They test those waters on their own, and have those first experiences with the other important people in their lives, and maybe... just maybe... a mother's heart will survive the trauma of her baby growing up.
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You have always been there for the moments that count. There will be MILLIONS of moments that you will be there for and Millions you will not be there for... But because of the way you raised him, he will always share them with you.
I will miss you fluffy.
Just wait until the day you look at a picture of your child as a 3 or 4 year old and realize that person is gone...forever, grown up, never to return as the same little person. And you never got to say goodbye.
Life is made up of lots of little changes.
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