Fish Guilt

I had nagged my husband to clean our fish bowl for weeks. Our Beta, Little Tiny Baby, was living in filth and it was his job to change the water. So he brought the fish bowl and net into the kitchen. When I say net I really mean an old metal strainer.

Only he decided not to use the strainer because he was afraid it would poke and injure the fish. Does anyone smell foreshadowing here? Instead, he attempted to pour the fish into a plastic cup he had placed in the sink. But the water tipped the cup and the fish landed on the drain.

Cue TOTAL PANIC from my husband.

I rushed over to found him trying to grab the fish who was now flopping on the drain. Attempt number one was unsuccessful. I told him to calm down and offered to try since my fingers were smaller and perhaps less shaky. His panic caused temporary deafness because he didn’t calm down or let me try. Attempt number two was also unsuccessful because when he grabbed the fish it slipped out of his hand and went HEAD FIRST DOWN THE DRAIN.

My husband killed our fish. He is a fish murderer and will carry guilt the rest of his life. He says I am an accessory to murder. Which is completely ridiculous because I am completely innocent.

None of you are shocked to know he immediately suggested buying a replacement fish. I suggested telling our children the fish had died (from unknown causes) and we were done with fish. If you remember a previous post, Wingin’ It, you know we have zero luck with fish. In fact, Little Tiny Baby was actually Tiny Baby #3.

We bickered for a few minutes. He insisted. I refused. Then I agreed. (Mainly to get out of bath time.)

I drove to PetSmart muttering under my breath, wondering why I let my husband talk me into such foolishness.

I left PetSmart with Little Tiny Baby #4 and a small fish tank complete with filter and a lid that lights up. Yep, I folded like a lawn chair.

I see you rolling your eyes. I hear you laughing and judging. It’s ok. In your shoes I would do the same. I’m not sure why I changed my mind. Maybe it’s because I love my kids so much I wanted to protect them from sadness. Maybe it was the persuasive fish expert who assured me “replacement fish” are very common.

Mostly it was guilt.

Even though I was not the murderer, I still felt loads of guilt. Which got me thinking…how powerful is guilt in my life?

If I’m not careful “mom guilt” changes how I view myself and how I see my children.
If I don’t volunteer at church or school, guilt makes me wonder how people see me.
If I criticize my husband or fall asleep praying, guilt makes me wonder how God sees me.
If I eat half a box of girl scout cookies, guilt makes me feel so bad I eat the other half.

Since our fish tragedy I’ve been intentional about squashing my guilty thoughts before they take root. I remind myself I am giving my best in every area of life. I’m asking God to help me let go of guilt and the decisions I make because of it. I hope you can do the same.

I also hope one day when my children read this they can forgive their father for being a fish killer.

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