Sometimes I feel sorry for myself. Particularly if there’s any vomit involved in my day…but I hardly ever get any sympathy from my Mom (PackMam) Now, it’s not that she won’t listen to me moan and complain, because she will. It’s just that it all comes down to one thing: Is it as bad as the Goldfish Day? Invariably, the answer is no.
The Goldfish Day is something of a family legend, although it’s *not* a legend, because it really happened. I was there. I lived through it. It scarred me. No blog about our family would be complete without sharing the Goldfish Day…it’s a way for you to put everything in perspective. It’s a measuring tool…was it a Goldfish Day? If not, relax. It could get worse.
PackMam, bless her heart, had her hands full. She was a recent divorcee. She was bravely mothering a 10yr old (who was stunning and smart and a joy to everyone around her…well, maybe I’m editorializing…) She also had under her wing a very unruly 3yr old, a 2yr old, and an infant. She worked full time hours in and out of the home, and there were never enough hours in the day.
I returned home from school one day to find that PackMam was a bit worn out, and had laid the 3yr old and the 2yr old down for an afternoon nap. All was well, right? No. No, all was NOT well. When I entered my room I knew it was not well, because I think I recall a slightly evil chuckle coming from the 3yr old. The 2yr old peeked from the bars of her crib with a cherubic grin. Something strange clung to one of her bouncing curls…and a fish fin dripped out of her mouth. In horror, I realized that my beloved fish Flippy and Finny no longer inhabited their fishy water paradise. I had BEGGED for those fish! PackMam was a “we-don’t-do-animals-in-the-house” kind of lady. Those fish were a hard-won battle…and they had just been fed to my sister.
Now, I am quite sure that I had every right to throw the teary booger meltdown that I did. PackMam did her best to console me. When the wails had quieted to a sniffle, she left to scold her sushi-master and wipe up the happy diner. Unfortunately, she discovered that the diner in question had decided to wrap up her gourmet experience and move on to the makeover portion of the afternoon, which included a deep conditioning treatment for her hair. She has smeared a tub of A&D ointment into her fine, silky curls.
PackMam was good, but I’m pretty sure the edges were starting to fray. There was nothing to do but plop the diva into the tub and begin a long lineup of whatever home remedies she could think of that might remove a pound of thick grease from a baby’s head. She scrubbed, and rubbed, and soaped, and scraped…and phoned her mother. While they brainstormed, the baby decided to top off her tank with whatever was left in a small cup of laundry detergent forgotten on the edge of the tub.
Enter again the unfortunate gem of a child who was just subjected to a fish-massacre. I beefed up the drama. You know how kids are. They seem to have a sixth sense for weakness. I knew if I hit fast and hard I had a chance…a small one, but a chance…at getting those fish replaced. I know PackMam was crumbling fast at that point, because she combed the soapy, peanut-buttery greasy fish chunks out of the baby’s hair and loaded everyone into the car.
When we arrived at the store, PackMam gave a last valiant effort to regain control of the situation. she strapped one child to her chest, one child to her back, and plopped fish-muncher into the cart. I happily trotted along as we made our way to the back of the store, and began the tedious process of selecting my new fishy-family. No one noticed that the baby was starting to look a little green around the gills. The pet-aisle employee finally arrived with his scooper-net, like a knight in shining armor. He was about to begin sloshing about for my scaly trophies when….the laundry detergent kicked in. With a whimper the baby exploded, launching puddles of foamy goldfish parts out of her pant legs. The shame of my Flippy and Finny’s untimely fate became an undeniable reality. I’m not sure who was most distressed…the baby, me, PackMam, or the unfortunate pet-aisle employee.
We left without fish, and thus The Goldfish Day was born.
And no, Tom, I still haven’t forgiven you.