OK, I'm really going to leave this blog alone, but the kid got her first pet this afternoon after school and it was a goldfish she named Belle. We all loved Belle. My daughter was heard to comment, "I appreciate the extra responsibility I get from having a pet."
Well, Belle was found dead from unknown causes at about 7:30 PM this evening. It's been tears pretty much non-stop since then and the kid went so far as to hide the fish food (in the bathroom) and the fish net (on the steps going upstairs) and made me put the fish bowl out on the front porch so as to avoid the emotional stress of being reminded of the late lamented Belle.
My kid spent the day telling everyone we encountered about her new pet and it was quite engaging -- nearly everyone loves having a conversation with a kid who is excited about a new pet. Now she's going to have to tell everyone she sees tomorrow that the fish is pushing up the peppermint. (I buried Belle in the garden so as to avoid the terrors of association mentioned above.) We'll see how willing everyone is to discuss issues of mortality and grief. This is the kid's first significant brush with grief, and certainly with the health of at least some of my extended family members being dicey at best it's all I can do to keep from telling her that it isn't going to be her last. But rarely have I met with unqualified success when I've attempted to assuage my misery by shifting the thanatopsian burden onto the shoulders of a young child, so likely I will simply continue my ad hoc approach to inuring her to the manifold sucker punches of grief.
Anyway -- hey! We're all feeling pretty lousy around here! Thanks for de-lurking where relevant! I just signed a commercial lease for a book shop this afternoon. So that (I hope) puts the dead pet thing into some kind of counterpoint. How are you?