Water World

It seemed, at first, an unlikely place to spend Christmas Eve.

We went to the Georgia Aquarium.

There is one enormous tank, which to a child might seem like the size of a real ocean. There are whale sharks as large as boats, and hammerhead sharks that seem to go for miles, and mean-looking fish that could swallow my baby whole. We spent most of an hour in the tunnel, where these sea creatures cast their shadows over our heads while flying in slow motion. There was a manta that belonged in a circus — the entire time we watched him, he did one back flip after another.

After a while, we wrapped around to the part of the tank with the most exposed glass. It had to have been two stories tall. The girls and I didn’t sit back on the benches — we positioned ourselves cross-legged on the floor and pressed our faces to the germ-ridden glass. For those few minutes, it felt like we inhabited their world.

When I pulled back my face a little, I could see my girls’ reflections in the bright blue water – the same image this aquatic life and the rest of the world saw when they looked at my curious, excited children, pointing out and pronouncing creatures of the sea: three precious daughters and a mother who still can’t believe how very lucky she is.

Christmas Eve, at the Aquarium, was the perfect place for us after all.


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