This weekend Dashell went to the Long Beach Aquarium for the second time in his young life. It was the perfect day for it, a little overcast, not too cool, not too warm. So we packed up the family, including Dashell's Nanna and Jimbo who are out for a visit, and took off for a day of underwater excitement.
The fish looked fetching as always. It's interesting to see them in their "natural" habitats: to see which fish swim in schools and which are loners, which like to swim laps and which like to cling to the rocks. To see a glimpse of what it must be like to live under the sea.
I watched Dash look intently at the fish and watched some of the fish look back at him and I realized that, like the fish, I've been watching him lately. A lot.
I know all the books say that as you play with your child you should carry on a continuous dialog about what you are doing, but lately I catch myself sitting there mute, watching him. Wow, what will he do next? Look, he's taking the toys out of the bucket. Oh wait, now he's putting them back in. He's on the move. Where's he going? I find him utterly fascinating!
Periodically I think I catch glimpses of the little boy he's becoming. He's really not a baby anymore, but he's not quite a toddler either. He's in middle. But sometimes if you look hard enough, and wait, and watch you can almost see a visual flutter of where he's going to end up.
And when I think about it, it's not just Dashell I've been watching lately. When his grandparents come to visit I like to watch them too. Sometimes I think I catch glimpses of what they must have been like as young parents. What their interactions might have been like with Dave and with me when we were Dashell's age. How patient they were with us, how loving and how much fun!
But it's all just glimpses. Whether it's me seeing Dashell's future, or my past. Or us witnessing life under the water, or even the fish catching a glimpse of life on land. It's fleeting, but fascinating... and it definitely keeps me coming back and patiently watching for more.
The boys are suited up and ready to roll!
Three generations of men-folk...
Lovin' him some fish!
Dash wasn't too sure what to think of the birds...
...but they loved him.
He even got to pet one!
...so did Nanna and Jimbo.
Dash also got to pet the baby sharks...
...and the starfish...
...and the stingrays.
All in all it was a pretty good day.