When this shark swam by, I was like, "Look at those teeth!" then, "Yeah... too bad people who are predators don't have their sharp whites out there like that so everyone knows up front who they are and what they are about." Don't worry... I said it to myself!
"What about the baby sharks?" You ask. I have to admit to finding them cute but Athena almost touched one by accident when she reached into a tank to pet a stingray. The baby shark was swimming underneath and slipped out just as her hand came down. Human sharks can be like this also...hiding in the shadows then slipping out at opportune moments looking all cute and safe. "Don't touch the shark," the Aquarium employee shouted, startling us all. Thank God for his warning. Even when we watch for danger we don't always see it right there, hidden in plain sight.
We were patient and waited. When the coast was clear, we did pet the stingrays. So smooth and cool to the touch and much like many people I know, safe to hang out with if you don't ruffle their feathers but trigger their defences and you'll know it when they sting you.
Jellyfish too though they don't have to be triggered... they are just always going to sting you, no matter what, if you get on their wrong side, which is well...just about every side.
If you think the Aquarium lesson ended when the exhibits were over, we had to exit through the gift shop, a place full of shiny things designed to catch your eye but which on closer inspection prove themselves to be mostly junk. Rather than grab at the pinkest, cutest or shiniest thing, if you take your time to search, you can usually find something of substance and value hidden amongst the rubbish. I set out to encourage this...
But then I remembered that she's NINE! Unicorns, the tooth fairy and Santa exist... I am still almost always right. I remembered that my bed is the comfiest place for her to sleep and she hasn't realized that she really is too heavy to be sitting on my lap. So I bought the stuffed seahorse with the hearts and pastel colours that made her voice rise two octaves when she talked about how much she loved it. I also bought her a handful of candy from the bulk station just because I wanted to see her smile her crooked smile and skip her crooked-legged skip all the way back to the GO station. I bought them for her friend as well because I know the only thing better than having one happy nine year old is having two.
I filled the empty shopping bags with their discarded jackets, balancing the weight of their baggage from a pace behind. I watched their free arms swing while their others clutched the seahorse tight to their sides, the stuffed heads bouncing in their little-girl grasps and smiled inside knowing there is still so much time before she understands even half of this - thank God.