A Visit to the Aquarium with Teens
It was my daughter Clare’s 16th birthday and she requested that we take a trip to the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, CT. We haven’t been there in a very long time. Our last visit was when Clare was turning 12 and she and I had a girl’s day out to see the newly arrived Meerkat exhibit.
This is what she looked like back then — just 4 years ago but almost a lifetime.
We were sitting at our side by side desks in the hallway outside our bedrooms when she asked if we could go. Nick, the older brother, who has been “too old” to hang out with his mother and sister for quite a while now, was passing by us on his way up to his lair on the third floor. I casually asked if he wanted to join us, expecting him to say “No,” and pleasantly surprised when he answered, “Yes.”
While I hoped we could get out early the next day, I wasn’t surprised when both of my offspring were still awake at 1:30 am and still in bed at 11 am the next morning. With some coaxing and prodding and waiting, by mid-afternoon we were finally in the car and on our way.
I was pleased by how much each of my kids were looking forward to this visit to the Aquarium and even more than that, how pleasant they were being to each other. Could this be a turning point as my son approaches 20? I have my fingers crossed on that. When was the last time they were really sweet with each other? It was like a peek forward to how they could be as adult siblings and a glimpse back to how they were as children. It was a bittersweet moment for me, one that I’m not sure I can sufficently express in words.
The highlight of our trip was the Lorikeet exhibit. Sadly, the Lorikeets are leaving after this weekend. If I had known how much fun they were, I would have gone to visit sooner and more often. It was sweet to see Nick and how much he enjoyed his interactions with the playful, curious and amusing little birds.
Nick was a big attraction for the birds. They liked his hat and probably, the fact that he was so tall. They flocked to him and he was in his glory. At one point there were 5 of them on his head and shoulders.
I focused on taking pictures while from time to time, a bird would land on my head, crawl around for a bit and then hop off again. Clare had her share of bird attention as well. They were very attracted to her pink hair!
I could have spent the entire day taking pictures and playing with the birds; it was like being in bird heaven, although it was a heaven filled with lots of bird poop.
After we got our fill of the birds, we wandered around the Aquarium, seeing things we had seen before and some things that were new. Clare petted the sharks and the manta rays in the touch tank and even petted a jellyfish or two. We watched the tiny meerkats digging and sleeping and digging and sleeping. We saw the seals lounging on the rocks after a good meal. We expressed how we should make the trip to the Aquarium again soon.
It was a good day and I am pretty sure, a good birthday for Clare. I’m thinking that there may not be too many more of these family trips in our future and I am hoping I can make time for them while we still can. Kind of bittersweet, isn’t it?