So I had a doctor’s appointment last week — I don’t need to go into that, the point of this story is that my kids were with me. I’ll back up here a bit to say that I’m seriously geographically challenged. I know that sounds irrelevant. Stay with me for just a minute. On top of being geographically challenged, I switched insurances in January and now have a true HMO which, while great in some respects, is horrible when it comes to locations of specialists, tests such as MRIs, CAT Scans and the like. I know, I know. My HMO issues sound equally irrelevant as to why my kids were with me. I’m getting there. Trust me. So. Being geographically challenged and nervous about driving to the location of the specialist I needed to see, my son Jake was kind enough to take me to my appointment so that I didn’t have to traverse unknown lands. Ta Da! I made it to the point — told you I would! Aren’t you glad you waited around?
Well, he also had the absolutely brilliant idea of catching the light-rail (a.k.a. commuter train) to the National Aquarium in the city after my appointment… his treat. Which is how I got to spend the entire day with both of my kids, something I haven’t done in quite some time. Oh, we’ve gone to the movies here and there. Every time a Marvel comics flick comes out actually. But since Jake doesn’t live at home any more, we haven’t truly spent a day together, the three of us, since I can’t remember when. Jake’s friend came along as well and he is very much like my son which means he’s smart, has a sharp, somewhat twisted wit and is quick to laugh. He fit right into our little familial clique just as if he had always belonged there.
Despite the overwhelming odor of urine throughout our foray from the light rail station to the aquarium, and witnessing the beginnings of a throw-down between two women at a bus stop, for which another man, for reasons unknown, seemed to be gathering an audience in the passers-by, a fun day was had by all. I’ll admit the two women (one proclaiming loudly, “I am NOT going back to jail!”) may just have added to the excitement of the day.
We laughed more than I thought possible, we oohed and aahed over black tipped reef sharks and blue-tinted jelly fish, we waited patiently in one spot for over 20 minutes for a 3-finned sea turtle named Calypso to make his way back around a panoramic tank so we could see him up close, saw a dolphin who refused to swim right side up, and reminisced over field trips from days past when Jake’s fellow student (my charge) skipped into a museum exhibit, setting off alarms in the process.
I used to tell my kids they could stop growing at any time… that they could simply stay small indefinitely. They grew up anyway. They never listen to me. Damned kids. Now I know that’s the way of the world. I know that’s how it’s supposed to go. Kids grow up and move on. Even still. In the aquarium last week, I caught myself sorely missing the hand holding and the “stay together!” that always accompanied such trips when they were younger. The barrage of quick fire questions that would need answering as we went through the exhibits because they wanted to learn about everything they saw. Now they know more than me. Which is as it should be, I suppose.
The one thing that has not changed, and it thrilled me to no end, was their sense of wonder at the animals and habitats contained in the aquarium. They are both still very much in awe of the natural world around them and the animals that reside within it. And I’m happy to say Jake’s friend is the same. I’m glad that my son has surrounded himself with like-minded people. Like I said before. It’s as if this kid is one of us.
So at the end of the day, Sarah and I arrived home gloriously tired with impossibly sore feet (oh my god, such sore feet!)…and for me — a full, happy heart.
Below are some photos from the day. You can probably guess my favorite exhibit.