My in-laws are in town for a visit and today we took Isabella to the aquarium. The place was teeming with families and summer campers. We made our way in, past the hoopla of a play area with a giant blow-up shark.
As we walked through the rooms of tanks, I felt submerged. It was dark and cool and somehow quiet, even with so many children everywhere. Peaceful and dream-like. Jellyfish and sharks and giant sea turtles.
Eventually we returned to the bright light, sea lions diving and then popping up, little snouts sniffing the air, to which Isabella said, “God bless you, sea lion!” Outside in the thick heat, we entered the butterfly exhibit. She was overwhelmed by the myriad wings fluttering all around us. Butterflies alighting on my arms and shoulders.
We made one more round through the dark and dreamy tanks before we left. Even on this day spent indoors, I am writing about water. It seems to reappear and repeat. So too, with my daughter. This project is supposed to be about me, but here she is again, always with me. If I was looking for a delineation of the border between us, I haven’t found it. I look for me, and I find us.
And I find happiness.
Yesterday I took this picture of myself. Every once in awhile, when I’m feeling invisible, submerged, I’ll snap a selfie. I never post it; it just sits in the vast archive on my phone. A record of me, visible. Toddler behind me in her car seat wondering why the heck I’m delayed in unbuckling her.
(Post 210 of 365)