Abraham. The Fish.

I try to be a fun mom every once in a while.

I try to not just jump to saying no before I’ve even thought about the request.

Don’t get me wrong.  I say no.  A lot.  Like 8,749 times a day.

A good day.

But there was the time we were shopping at the Mart of the Walls, and the kids asked me to buy them a fish.

A blue Beta fish.

The one with the really long fin that had green swirling through it?

The biggest one.  The third one over.  Next to the sickly looking peach one.

I immediately said no.  I didn’t even look.  No.

Begging ensued.

I took a big, long, deep breath.

Look, I have four kids (okay only 3 at the time…Owen was still on the inside).  Two dogs.  A cat.  A husband.

And plenty of other responsibilities.

The last thing on Earth I need is another mouth to feed.  Another creature to keep alive.  Another version of poop to clean up after.


Owning a fish is kind of a kid rite of passage.  It’s part of childhood.  Memories and all that.

Besides, I had an idea.

“You can’t get one of the blue fish, but…stop whining, let me finish…you can pick out TEN of these fishies!!!!!”

Excitement.  Cheering.  Jumping up and down.

I was a hero.  The voice of a generation.

Ten cent feeder fish.


“But wait.  You guys need to listen very carefully.  These fish don’t live very long.  They will all die pretty soon.  And I don’t want you to go crying about it.  It’s just the way it is.  So you can only get them if you promise me you won’t freak out when they die.  How long?  Oh, I don’t know…about three days.  Why?  Because that’s how God made them.  That’s why they’re only ten cents.”

There were ten goldfish.  Henry named them all.

The black and white ones were named Tess.  The orange ones were Abraham.

I have no idea.  But just go with it.

Literally within about 3 HOURS of coming home, 9 of the 10 fish died.

Leaving only one lonely Abraham.

I was stoked.

My plan was coming along perfectly.  And much faster than anticipated.

What plan?

Oh you know…the one where I get cool fun mom points by saying yes and letting the kids get a pet even though I know that they’re all just going to get flushed to fishy heaven in a few days’ time so I really don’t have to deal with taking care of them?

Yeah.  That one.

Because that’s how I parent.  With as many cheapy tricky ways to make memories and get cool mom points and not have to really do anything.

So, we flushed the Nine down the toilet with great fanfare and farewells, and I continued on with life counting down the days until Abraham would join his scaly friends.

And the stupid fish didn’t die.


As in, he is still alive.

And it’s been close to a YEAR.

How on earth, of all the dumb feeder fish in that tank did we end up with the one Navy SEAL fish????!!!

Because God loves laughing at me.

And watching me clean up poop.

Learn from me, friends.

Nancy had it right.

Just. say. no.


Don’t go getting all fancy with your trickster ways.  Because they will backfire.  And you will be feeding and cleaning out a bowl of stinky, cloudy fish water for over a year.  At least.

Now if you’ll please excuse me.

I have water to de-chlorinate.


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I'm a mom to four. A wife to one. I believe in story. I love telling you about mine and would love to hear yours. There's really no sense in wasting our suffering and not sharing in each other's joy. We're all in this together...even if it doesn't always feel like it.

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  1. 1
    marcia rocha says:

    i about died, my cheeks hurt from laughing so hard. love them.

  2. 2


  3. 3

    hahahahahaha how hilarious is this? Hilarious that you tricked them, and hilarious that your trick backfired (not hilarious to you, I’m sure, but it’s funny to us outsiders!). This will be a great memory for the kids, definitely.
    Brittany´s last blog post ..getaway

  4. 4

    This is too funny! We were in a similar boat with a betta fish–that thing lived for YEARS. And ever since it went to fishy heaven, we’ve got non-stop begging for something to replace him. Like a bunny. Or a dog. Or several cats.
    brittany´s last blog post ..vacation, pt.2: tokyo!

  5. 5
    Kevin Heldt says:

    HA! Just saw your reference to this post on your blog comment to Brianna and had to come over. Great, GREAT story. Stay strong, Abraham, stay strong. And Jeannett, you might want to settle in — the original Abraham lived 175 years…

  6. 6

    After an incredibly frustrating afternoon (to the likes of both kids not napping… still not having napped… 4 calls with the internet company over my bill… the last one lasting 50 minutes) this story brought a smile to my face. Sorry for your plan backfiring and for me getting joy out of your story… but the irony is too much! A Navy SEAL goldfish named Abraham! Ha!

  7. 7

    Rofl I needed a good laugh. Navy SEAL fish. omg priceless.

  8. 8

    I bought my daughter a beta after her two year check up. I thought it would be dead in a month. I have really bad luck with fish, and I’m not great at keeping the bowl spotless. But, Kenly managed to pick the fish with super powers or at least nine lives. I swear he’s knocked on death’s door at least eight times. Every time I’m secretly cheering for him to “swim toward the light,” but NO! Kenly is four and Snooty shows no signs of swimming into the great beyond.
    Rhonda Brand´s last blog post ..Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This

  9. 9

    I am LMAO because when I bought my fish as an adult, those were the only fish I’d buy – lived for several years!

    Happy cleaning,

  10. 10

    Bad news…..those little feeder fish are actually kind of hard to kill. I have 2 that I bought with 5 other fist, who all have died along the way along with a couple of snails and algae eaters. They’ve gone for a week without eating when I left on an emergency and forgot to ask someone to feed them . They grew from 1″ to 5″ in my 20 gallon aquarium without any competition. I’m kind of in love with them now. They grow on you, and then you really do get upset when they die.
    Dawn´s last blog post ..Standing Rock Reservation

  11. 11

    We’re going on 5 years yes 5 years with the goldfish that came home from my daughter’s classroom. Oh she begged me and I agreed for mommy points thinking that the fish would last three weeks tops! 5 years! It’s still in the little fishbowl on the counter. I think it has its own ecosystem in there. I’m pretty sure he’s a senior citizen by now! Good luck.

  12. 12

    Funny post and comments Hall of Fame! HahAHAHAHAHA! Wow, there are a lot of us moms waiting on Fishy to die! We inherited a beautiful goldfish that lived about 6 months with us, and I was happy to end our fish adventures. Then Sedona used a lot of her own cash at a school carnival, and out came the fish tank again. Then a birthday party with a country fair theme…and yep, here we go, cleaning out the fish poop. Annnnd, I have not invested in a pretty tank. No, that will be when Blackie actually does die. So instead, in my front room there sits a plastic aquarium from my teaching days 8 years ago. And the plastic is yellowing with age, still the fish lives on! And I still wonder: do I just get the pretty new glass aquarium (not a fish bowl – I have those, but then the cat goes fishing) or wait it out? I mean, how are we to know when these things are ready to call it a good swim? And why couldn’t the one who lived be the pretty white one with orange spots? Why does it have to be the grey one that looks a small trout?

    There. I feel better. I’m glad we had this talk. ;)

  13. 13

    This is hilarious! You got super fish :) I’m sure the kids are excited…I hope he isn’t too much work to take care, I’ve never had fish.
    Linda´s last blog post ..2012 Album: June

  14. 14

    This is hilarious! You got super fish :) I’m sure the kids are excited…I hope he isn’t too much work to take care of, I’ve never had fish.

  15. 15

    Ain’t that just the way of it? God certainly has a sense of humor. Amusing!!

  16. 16

    Too funny!

  17. 17

    this post is absolutely priceless!!! that sounds like something that would happen to me! lol

    the sweet life of a southern wife
    Southern Wifey´s last blog post ..throwback thursdays: gender reveal

  18. 18

    I’m dying. Giggling out loud in the middle of a coffee shop. No kids for me yet, but I want to be just like you when I grow up ;-).
    Amy´s last blog post ..On Christ Crucified | SheShares

  19. 19

    My mom bought my daughter a fish for her 5th birthday last year. Stupid thing went belly up within 48 hours. So we were the stupid ones carting the carcass back to Walmart in the middle off the night to find a body double. That one lasted a week. Next, it was an African dwarf frog. He made it through the summer before he croaked. (Ha!) Then my husband, undeterred by the fact that we obviously couldn’t keep anything in a bowl alive, brought home Mr. Kitty, a beta fish from his co-workers cubicle. Mr. Kitty has been hanging out in his SpongeBob pineapple house for over a year now and isn’t going anywhere. In fact, I’m pretty sure my daughter has forgotten he even exists. I think he only gets fed once a week or so. But yet he inexplicably continues to survive. I’m sure we’ll still be changing that water when she’s in college.
    kodie´s last blog post ..Insta-Friday

  20. 20

    Oh now that is funny!

    I have my own fish story. My son got a fish for his birthday, a gold fish, and I did everything I could to keep it alive although I did not know much about fish and cloudy water and overfeeding and such. It was floating dangerously close to the top of the water, so I sent the two college baseball players that were living with us that summer to the store to buy a replacement gold fish. They came back with a blue Betta fish. What? Part? Of? Gold?! Well, I knew that my son would not be fooled by this blue fish as a replacement for his gold fish, but I thought maybe he would learn to like the blue fish and when, eventually, the gold fish died, he would at least have the blue fish. And so I put the blue fish in with the gold fish. I did not know that Betta fish are also called Siamese Fighting Fish. I know it now! John woke up the next morning to the blue fish biting his gold fish, which was now definitely floating on top of the water. John was traumatized. We had a burial service for the gold fish complete with a cross marker. I made those college boys attend the backyard service with us. John wanted nothing to do with the murdering blue fish. We didn’t have to live with it long anyways, since I have a knack for killing both plants and fish.
    Anne´s last blog post ..They Played With Angela

  21. 21

    As part of a class project in elementary school, we all got to take care of a little fish at the end of the year. I managed to keep mine alive and begged my mom to let me keep the ugly little thing. She did, probably assuming his end was near anyway. I’m not sure how long he survived, but it was months and MONTHS and more months. And I think he would have made it longer, but he jumped out of his bowl one day when we weren’t around and went to meet his fishy maker. I bet that was a great day of relief for my mom ;-)
    Trish´s last blog post ..So What! Wednesday

  22. 22

    Goldfish can actually live up to 20 years in a proper aquarium. It’s the bowl that kills them, not their nature.
    Andrea @ This Pug Life´s last blog post ..DIY: Spooky Halloween Wreath

  23. 23
    Fluffs's Wife says:

    I have to share. We were much the same, but instead of my children beggin -it was my husband. This was before we had children.

    So he bought 8 feeder fish and within days all but one died. I named him Solo. A week later, in an attempt to ‘prep the water for real fish’ he bought 8 more feeders. All but one died. I named him Duet.

    That was 4 YEARS AGO!! They are now HUGE, the size of my palm, and my husband ignores them until we can barely see through the tank. Navy Seal fish? Yah, I have them too.

  24. 24

    Your post was cracking me up! Sounds like that fish is not going anywhere.

    I once wanted to get a fish as a pet. I intentionally bought five, knowing that most would die in the first week. The last one was the lone survivor (who I named “Victor,” since he was the only victorious one of the bunch). Victor lived a nice, long life in a tiny bowl with limited food and water changes.

    If your fish was able to survive all of the fish diseases and trauma that killed the others, he sure is a NAVY SEAL fish!
    Catsburgh´s last blog post ..My Week in Cat Pictures

  25. 25

    Hi to every body, it’s my first visit of this website; this blog includes amazing and in fact good stuff in support of readers.
    glume´s last blog post ..glume

  26. 26

    Oh I’m trying hard not to laugh, but I can’t help it! This is so something that would happen to me!!! Good luck! ha!
    Kate Pantier @ Project Hermosa´s last blog post ..What I Want Wednesday…

  27. 27

    If Abraham continues not dieing he may end up needing a bigger home. The fun just keeps on coming. That betta’s not looking so bad now eh? :D
    Kevin´s last blog post ..What Is A Protein Skimmer And Why Do You Need One?