Monday, December 08, 2008

The Fish and His Boy

As incentive to work hard at school and gain green happy faces, we promised Judah a fish.
Judah had been struggling to obtain many green happy faces in his first few weeks of school. We made the deal that once he filled a whole week with good marks, we'd take him and buy him a "rainbow fish."
After several near successes, he did it. On October 19, 2008, we went to Wal-Mart and brought home a lovely little beta fish.
Judah named him, Loupy-Doupy-Ooup. Kenton and I called him Lou for short.
Lou quickly adapted to our home and became a little member of the family. We hadn't had much luck with other fish before and after a few weeks, we were so happy to see Lou thriving in his little bowl.
Judah decided to officially change his name to, "just Lou, it's easier."
As it got colder, we moved Lou in to our bedroom, because the kitchen was so chilly and now we all were growing really fond of our Chinese Fighting Fish.
Once in our room, I found myself observing him more and eventually talking to him.
"Hey Lou, how you doin' buddy?"
Judah would pop in and say, "hey buddy, it's me, what 'cha doin'?" Or, "Hey Lou, I drew you a picture of us together so you won't be lonely when I'm gone."
We taped the picture up on the bowl and had a magnetic L resting on the front of the bowl for a while too.
"Mommy, Lou starts with 'L', I'm going to give it to him, 'L' for Lou."
Lou even began to show a vivid interest in anyone who would come up to his bowl and talk to him. He'd flutter right over to the glass and start flapping his fins rapidly.
I thought I was going crazy. I told Kenton, "He's a strangely social fish, I think he likes people."
After the laughs and jokes, people started seeing what I meant. He really was social and likes people to talk to him.
We had grown so attached to a three dollar fish. A reward we thought wouldn't make it through the following week was now a deeply loved member of our family. A family who never really has or ever intended on being pet lovers, had become emotionally invested in a fish.

This morning we discovered Lou had jumped out of his bowl. He had done it hours prior. There was no hope in bringing Lou back. Lou was gone.

It was ten minutes until school started and I was a blubbering mess. I knew we couldn't tell Judah before school. I tried to get it together and dropped him off.
The sting in it all was that we had made plans to go to the pet store after school to buy Lou a Christmas present, per Judah's request.

Kenton made plans to be home from work so we could talk to Judah together. When Kenton told him that Lou had jumped out, Judah thought we were joking. He was laughing, because he knows his Daddy is always making jokes.
My face screwed up as my eyes welled with tears, "I'm so sorry baby, he really did."

Poor little boy. His little smile was erased so quickly and replaced with tears and a trembling lip.
I grabbed him and held him tight as he sobbed into my shoulder.
All he said was, "I want him back."

Lou was too special to receive the traditional burial at sea, he was placed in a small box and buried in the yard. One of Judah's large river stones marks the spot where our beloved Lou lies now.

As we placed him in the ground Judah squeaked out a, "bye Lou."
We came in and held one another. Kenton asked him what his favorite thing was about Lou. With tears still pouring, he said, "He would flap his wings when I talked to him."

I don't like being a mommy today. I hate watching him go through this.


  1. Oh my! I feel like I am a fish because I am swimmming in my own tears! Poor Judah-we love you!

  2. I'm crying too Lacy! Isn't it amazing how the Lord teaches us even at a young age how to love and care for something else? Judah's heart is so tender.