Goodbye, Jelly…

“Jelly just blew bubbles and swam in circles.  That’s all he did.  And he was happy.”  Griffyn

The past few days for this family have had a few hiccups.  I won’t call them bad days, as days are neither bad nor good, they just are–and there is most often always something beautiful to be taken from them–even in the pain.  Almost always.  But there is always, always–— something to be thankful for.

A storm blew through our neck of the woods and our little part of town got a lot of water–a LOT.  Up to car tires, up to your waist (if you so chose to wade out into the street) and our basement got some water — but my oldest and I were able to keep up with it–since our sump pump (including our back up) could not.  Praise God for that!

My eldest blew me away with his calm demeanor.  He is usually a very anxious little guy.  I was so proud of him.  As we were scooping pitchers of water together as fast as we could and dumping them into plastic tubs that were meant to store winter clothes and decorations, backs and arms aching (water is heavy, sweating in the humidity, the monotony of bending over and moving heavy tubs, the stress — on young or old — it physically took a toll) — he repeatedly reminded me that God had this, we would be okay, and that he was so thankful we were home. I was so thankful he was there with me, calming me, helping me keep up with the ever raging current of water that was coming into the house.  G kept coming in, taking pictures, asking questions, offering suggestions–and of all things–wanting to play outside (it was also hailing–which looked like snow–which looked awfully inviting to my six year old).  He also wanted to know who had ordered the “fwimmming pool” that had coagulated all around our house in the backyard.  To him, “dat is tool”!!! My husband was at a class, so it was just me and my boys–and in those crazy, intense and stressful afternoon hours–my oldest so adeptly took on the role of man of the house.  I just stood in awe and could not tell him enough how proud I was of him.

And then, well, water is really stinking heavy (and stinky…).  I couldn’t carry or move those huge tubs anywhere worth a darn.  We waited for Daddy to get home and then he had the pleasure of carrying the water up from the basement and outside to dump it out — more hours of back breaking fun.  Max helped with opening doors and encouraging all of us.  A long day and night–further elongated by any little drop of rain inciting “CHECK IT!!!!!! CHECK IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” by my six year old who is now fearful of any deluge of water and what it may do to our basement and is insistent someone is checking on that damn sump pump when ever the sky takes on the appearance of eminent rainfall.  Good times, good times.

So I was very groggy this morning as I was fumbling around the kitchen getting the boy’s breakfast ready.  Marty had already left for class.  I was looking for something besides bread for my kids–too much bread eating going on–I’m gluten free and I’m trying to cut down on their intake as well.  Bananas and nutella it is.  And I need some caffeine, but coffee has not been kind to my stomach.  Hmmmmm, tea it is.  What am I forgetting?  Oh yes, Jelly–Jelly, our beautiful red beta, needs to be fed.  Oh dear God, Jelly is dead!!!!!!

Sure enough, there was our vibrant red beta, not so very vibrant, still as–well death–lying on the bottom of his jar.  Tears started welling up in my eyes.  What the hell?  Really?  Like my boys need this?  G will be devastated!  I have NOT had enough sleep to deal with DEATH this morning!!!  I even bought the special water drops.  THE SPECIAL WATER DROPS, do you hear me?  Why I was screaming at heaven, I don’t know–but no one else was around to scream at–and I certainly wasn’t going to scream at my children.  And why did Marty always have to miss out on all this stuff?  Why the crappity crap was he NEVER freaking home for any of this?

Breathe.  Just breathe.  The boys need breakfast.  We need to get to swimming lessons.  Griffyn always wanted to take Jelly to swimming lessons…

So, it all went okay.  G gets like I do when he’s really sad.  Super quiet.  Doesn’t make a sound.  He goes inside.  We flushed Jelly, said a little prayer, and expressed some good memories–but we kind of had to hurry–because, you know–breakfast, swim lessons.  G will STILL not use that bathroom.  Our counter top looks so bare without our little friend.  G won’t let me take his name sign down yet. “It’s still his pwace, Momma.” 

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We talked about heaven, again, on the way to swim lessons.  It seems we can’t escape it.  Jelly’s gonna be there.  Oh yes.  Most certainly.  And when we got to swim lesson, in God’s perfect timing, G’s friend, Addy, had made all of us little fishy charms.  She had no idea what had happened that morning.  It was all so perfect.  G smiled and looked at me and said, “I’m going to name mine Jelly.”  And I was once again reminded, in the little things (that are SO very big)– how amazing God’s providence is.  Thank you, sweet Addy.  It made my boy’s morning–your little fish treasures.

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We’ve had a beta before.  Max’s little friend, Lady, lived for 2 and a half years.  Crazy long for a pet fish.  Max fed Lady toast and pizza.  Lady jumped out of her bowl numerous times and even landed himself (yes, it was a boy) in the garbage disposal.  We didn’t even buy the special water drops for Lady.  Lady was a tough and crazy fish.  Jelly was pretty mellow.  And Griffyn loved Jelly with all of his heart–as he loves everything.  The ‘Peppa Pig’ episode today was about her fish.  We had to change it…

He’ll be okay.  I know this.  He knows this.  It just hurts.  And life hurts sometimes.  We’re going to feel it right now and let ourselves feel it.  And that’s okay too.  It’s okay to feel things.  It’s good to feel things.

Jelly was happy with the simple things.  Jelly didn’t do anything for G.  He couldn’t be cuddled, or pet, or walked.  He didn’t do tricks.  He wasn’t super fancy.  He wasn’t very good at keeping a person company.  G did all the work of feeding him and helping me clean his bowl out every week.  But G loved him anyway–for “nuffin” (as explained by G when a friend didn’t understand why G was SO excited and happy about getting a fish when they were ‘boring’ and ‘didn’t do anything’ — G said he just ‘lubbed him for nuffin’ — he loved him just the way he was — that thing we call unconditional love).

You know, those are pretty big lessons to learn from a tiny little fish.  And we talked about those, and we’re thankful for those.  They went in our thankful jar.  Just like the note “I am thankful for Jelly” that went into the thankful jar the first day G got Jelly.  Life is full of thankfuls.  Jelly was a thankful.  And that’s really all I have to say about that…