If you've been following our betta fish saga, then you know I left you hanging regarding the state of affairs. First my daughter Campbell lost Goldie, her fish of two years, and then she lost her new betta, Crystal, less than 24-hours after bringing her home. When I woke up early that morning and made the discovery, I had no idea what to say to her.
I had only moments to gather my thoughts. She came down the stairs, wrapped in her Mimi, ready to greet her new fish.
I intercepted her.
"Campbell, come here, please." I lifted her up and sat down in the dining room, putting her in my lap. I gave her a big hug and some kisses.
"What, Mommy?" she asked. "What's wrong?"
"I have some sad news, Cam. Some really, really sad news."
"I'm not sure what happened, but Crystal died during the night."
"WHAT?" she cried. "Oh, no!" She jumped off my lap and ran over to the shelf where she expected Crystal to be.
"I moved him over here, Cam, because I didn't want you to see him before I had a chance to tell you." I indicated to his tank on the kitchen counter.
"But..." she said, looking at him.
"I know, baby. I looked online, and it seems that the baby bettas require a lot more care than the guy at the store told us. They are really fragile."
Campbell was just super sad. She went through the whole mourning process, again, the same as before, so if we didn't clog the toilet the first time, we had a second chance. Once Cam settled down, I had a moment to deal with my own feelings. Not only had we inadvertently killed a creature, my child now would have to go through the morning process a second time. I was pissed.
But I decided to be polite when we returned to the store. I asked for the manager. I told him the whole story, though I didn't know what he could possibly do to make it better. "I would have preferred that your associate tell me he didn't know rather than this, " I explained.
The manager was kind. He apologized briefly to me and explained that he would speak to all of his associates about it, then went on to address Campbell. "What's your name?" he asked.
"Well, Campbell, I'm really sorry for your loss. You must be very sad."
"I don't know if you're ready, but if you'd like to choose another betta fish, you're welcome to take any one you choose. I'll go over the care with you and your mom in detail so we make sure things work out this time."
"Thank you," she said. She set off to the betta display, and the manager escorted us, explaining about all the different types of bettas and their characteristics. He left us alone to deliberate, and my only rule was "no babies." Campbell thought and thought and looked at every single fish. She finally and decicively settled upon a "Rose Petal Male" with a silvery-turquoise body and large, crimson, petal-like fins and tail. The complete opposite of Crystal. The manager told her she made a fine selection. "That one's a $20 fish," he announced. She looked at him, confused, and though it wasn't the point, I still felt a slight bit of satisfaction in that.
When we got into the car, Campbell asked "is 'Roosevelt' a boy's name?"
"Not only is it a boys's name, it's the name of two of our past presidents!"
"Really?! Then his name is Roosevelt, 'cause he's a rose petal fish."
"That is the perfect name," I said.
Roosevelt made it home safely with us, and he's been thriving on our betta shelf for a couple of weeks. Every morning when she wakes up, Campbell assesses his health. "Whelp, it looks like Roosevelt is doing great," she'll declare with a smile. Adult bettas are definitely easier to take care of than baby bettas."
And that, folks, is the moral of the story that finally seems to be having a happy ending.