So, while we were at Passage Key, I found a washed up starfish and was so excited to show the kids. I set it on my pile of collections and hurried back to show them. About halfway across the sandbar, I felt the starfish arms curl around my hand, as if he was holding on for the ride. I figured he was at the end of his life because when I found him, he was washed way up on the shore. I let Tay hold it and she instantly fell in love and asked to keep it. We decided that since he may still have a bit of a chance at life left, we would put him in the live well, just in case he might make it. At the end of the day, he hadn't moved much, so again, I figured he was dying, and that we could more that likely have him as a souvenir to take back. He rode in the bait bucket back tot eh condo. Billy and I researched how to preserve one and we let Tay know that we would have to place him in alcohol, which would "finish him off", and then it would dry it out for you to be able to keep. She was immediately appalled, looking at me as if I had mentioned murder, tears filling her eyes.
We ate some late dinner while relaxing after a long day of being out on the water. Tay cried off and on about the starfish, looking back, I probably shouldn't have put that sort of decision-making on her little shoulders. She has always wanted to find a starfish to keep, but not thinking about the whole process of killing something. An hour or two had passed and she went to check the bait bucket...he had climbed to the top and was lifting one arm all the way out, as if trying to open the lid!!! We were all surprised! She was so happy that he was better, but then I could see reality strike in her little red teary eyes...she has to give him up. More tears, she must have been so exhausted from the day, poor girl. I asked why she was so upset over this and she said, "Because I've always wanted a starfish, but feel so guilty thinking about keeping it instead of letting it go". I said, "Then it sounds like you've made the decision to let him go, giving him another chance at life." She bawled still nodding in agreement.
Daddy and I walked with her, down to the dark shore to release him, She held him around her fingers, waded out, and tossed him past the breaking waves. She still cried off and on for the rest of the evening. It was an emotional ending to the day.