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Be Like Bob

"I hate this!" my teenage daughter slammed the door with such force, such anger. She'd just learned that Singapore was going back to groups of two.


And truth is, I felt like slamming a door, too. "Not again. Not again. NOT AGAIN!" I wailed. I was in a room by myself, but it felt good to just scream a bit. I went to bed very grumpy indeed.


But then I got up this morning and saw Bob, our koi, and I felt better. You see, Bob has a screwed up swim bladder. For weeks on end, Bob floated upside down on the top of the water, doing his best to just manage. That poor fish looked so miserable. His whole world had literally been turned upside down. He was just surviving. Since he bobbed on top of the water, we named him Bob. Aren't we clever?


Every day, I'd come down to breakfast expecting to see Bob floating in an entirely different way, but month after month (yes, months), Bob continued to just manage. He's been living upside down since March. It's almost October. Wow, dude.

But then one day, Bob figured out how to pivot. He literally flipped over and started to swim with his school. What grit that little fish has! Sometimes he's upside down on top of the water again, but more often than not, he's swimming below the surface. I feel like he got a schooling from Dory, "Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming." And so he did.


There was another fish who had sort of the same swim bladder thing (maybe I need to get our pond checked?). If you watch the above video, you can see Bob swimming while is tank mate just stayed on the bottom of the pond, upside down, looking downright miserable. This week, that poor little second fish succumbed. Truth is, he didn't last very long. And because his belly was bloated like Bob, we originally thought the floater was our special fish.


But this morning, my son went out to feed the fish then screamed, "Bob is alive!" He came back inside, threw his arms in the air and yelled, "BOB LIVES!" We all did the Snoopy dance — over a fish mind you!


So what the heck does our new COVID reality have to do with Bob? Well, I dunno. To me, Bob's entire life was turned upside down and that little fish made the ultimate pivot. He didn't let his situation get him down. It took him a while, but Bob figured out how to move on with his life.


So my goal now during the back-to-two mandate is to be like Bob. We're in lockdown again. My kids will be doing home based learning again. As much as I feel like boohooing, I'm instead trying to let my little fish teach me a lesson.


You can either give up and let life take you where it will or you can fight like hell to find joy still. I'm going to mope a bit, figure out how to flip right side up and swim for all I'm worth.


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