One of the first lessons in love came from the Cluny County Fair, where our then fifth grade daughter won two goldfish. She proudly left the grounds with “Mariah” and “Carey,” swimming around in a knotted sandwich bag.
Days after finding a home on the breakfast counter, Mariah (or Carey?) went belly up. It seemed too soon to teach our sweet little girl about loss. Instead, I went to the local pet shop and purchased a replacement fish from an over-stocked tank of seemingly generic swimmers.
In the afternoon Margot returned home from school, looked into the bowl and said, “That’s not my goldfish.” I was astounded and a bit ashamed. I should have known better. Margot was initially sad, embraced the truth, and named the would be impostor, “Bubbles.”
Ironically Bubbles outlived his tank mate, accompanying Margot through early High School. Bubbles survived weekly bowl cleanings and near misses from the drain. He kept us company in the kitchen and represented a time gone by. We remember Bubbles fondly.
I hope that Margot, now 17, continues to draw on the innate wisdom she imparted to me in fifth grade. There are “plenty of fish in the sea,” however finding a hasty stand-in, is not the solution for lost love or a relationship gone bad. Who would have thought these lessons would come from a 10 year old, and a couple of not so generic goldfish?