The morning was gray. Thick clouds snuffed out the sunlight. It was early, much too early for a Friday morning, for us to be awake and tackling a day.
The secret had remained safe, tucked within the confines of mine and my husband’s brain. Once, just the night before, my husband had nearly opened the gates of Castle Secret and allowed the family adventure to escape prematurely. Fortunately, the wheels remained locked and the chains never allowed the bridge to unfurl. We’d planned the day for weeks, discussing in depth what we would do, and clinging to the mercy of Mother Nature before we could truly decide. The mists of rain, saddening fog, and all around dullness of the morning gave us our answer. We needed bright colors, non stop entertainment, and adventures galore.
At 7:00 a.m., The Doser Family Friday of Fun trekked out into the dismal morning. My husband and I had only moments before decided to share with our boys where we were going…The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta.
Davey seems to have an obsession with whale sharks and stingrays. He talks of them profusely, reading and re-reading the book of sea creatures given to him by his Aunt Dee Dee. He can tell the difference between the various species of sharks and whales, determining which is which and what each one’s purpose is. Once we told him of our adventure, made even more special by the fact that Daddy was taking an entire day off from work, his chatter never ceased. Would we pet stingrays? Would we see whale sharks? What about crabs?
Two years ago, while Henry was a mere six months old, we made our first trip to the Georgia Aquarium. We touched stingrays, met a real live Nemo, watched a dolphin show, and rode along a conveyor belt through a tunnel of water full of fish. Obviously, Henry couldn’t recall it, but Davey still did.
He was at full speed as we walked into the aquarium, eager to go from one exhibit to the next. My husband and I took a deep breath, as Henry struggled to break free from our grasp and chase after his brother. We were in for an exhausting day, a long day, and a day we were sure would test our true levels of patience.
As we made our way through, I saw the aquarium through a different set of eyes. I saw a true inquisitive nature, one of wonder and excitement. For me, an aquarium has always been nothing more than ho-hum. I see the fish and various sea creatures with not much curiosity. My boys? Their wonderment never ceases to amaze me.
I watched as their eyes grew narrow when truly studying a fish. Their heads would tilt from one side to the next. Henry would slowly take his finger and push on the glass while asking what kind of fish we were looking at. When the glass wall emerged, with three beluga whales swimming towards them, my boys jumped with excitement, their eyes growing wider. Davey tried to run along the glass wall eager to keep pace with the whales, while Henry just stood in amazement, his mouth agape.
We watched the dolphin show. Henry tilted his head back and laughed hysterically with each somersault performed by the dolphins. “That’s silly,” he would exclaim before another belly laugh would overtake him.
We watched a 4D version of Happy Feet in the theatre and when the whale crashed down into the water, we felt sprays of water as well. Davey laughed, while Henry shook his head and pursed his lips looking as if he were sucking on a lemon. My husband and I, alone, would have had an enjoyable time, but we wouldn’t have had an adventure and the time of our lives. We wouldn’t have laughed as hard as we did, smiled as much, or even run as much.
As the day closed out, the rain began coming down. We quickly, but sluggishly, walked back to the car. Once in the car, and after surviving a power outage in Atlanta, our boys were fast asleep. While watching them nap, I thought of how my husband and I use to be able to go places at the drop of the hat. We would vacation in Jamaica, cruise the Caribbean, spend a last minute weekend in the mountains. We used to do all of this, but I can’t recall having the same level of fun as we had when with our boys on Friday.