"Mommy, it's really bad," my youngest daughter said in between sobs on the phone.
"What is it, sweetie," I asked as I struggled to understand her words.
"Confetti died," she replied still crying.
Confetti was her beta fish that had outlived the other fish in our house by several months. He was proceeded in death by Purple Buddy and Blue Buddy before him. I used to tell my husband we should just name fish "Belly-up" when we bring them home because the second they cross our threshold they have a death sentence painted on their little scaly foreheads.
We try to follow all the directions the pet store gives us. My husband cleans the fish bowl on a regular basis. The fish has minimal "stuff" in the bowl to attract bacteria - no little treasure chest, or sunken pirate ship or shiny rubber scuba diver. And we keep the little guy on a strict feeding regimen as directed on the fish food package. Still, it seems hopeless.
"They live forever," the man at the pet shop always tells us. Maybe at your house, I think to myself silently. "You can't kill these things." It's the same stuff people always used to tell me about plants I couldn't kill-yet I did kill them.
So, of course, my husband ran out and got a a new fish that day. His name is "Firework."
"Mommy, something is wrong with Firework," she told me this morning. No, please, let this one live for a little while, I silently pray. "He's spitting out his food. I guess we need to take him to the fish doctor!"
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including two on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.