The first of a few recent Saturdays spent away from home involved a last-minute wedding videography cancellation, unexpectedly freeing my wife Kristie for the day. I knew exactly where the three of us had to go with our stolen time together: the New England Aquarium in Boston.
Kristie and I lived in the city for a little while, almost a decade ago now, before returning to our beloved valley. I worked at a newspaper then, and loved living in Boston. It seems...cleaner, maybe? than NYC. Friendlier in its own unfriendly way. Maybe it's just the familiarity of having lived there that makes me feel comfortable. It's a 1.5-hour drive from Northampton that I got used to making every Wednesday once I started working remotely for the newspaper, and I was happy to sail us eastward on the Mass Pike again, to bring my son to an aquarium for the first time.
I feel conflicted about zoos and aquariums. Fundamentally, I don't think wild animals should be kept in cages or tanks to their detriment for the purpose of human entertainment. My concerns were allayed a bit knowing how much the New England Aquarium does for ocean conservation though, and that the majority of their sea lions and other creatures were rescued or rehabilitated from situations they wouldn't have survived, and aren't able or ready to return to the wild. So it didn't feel awful – but didn't feel great either.
We met up with one of my best friends from high school and her fianceé, who wandered the blue hallways with us. We had a good lunch in the aquarium's cafe, and Miles did his best to thoroughly charm Kaela and Seth – which I'm quite sure he did. I'm glad the baby got to have this time with them, and I can't wait to be a bridesmaid in their wedding in just a few weeks!
It feels so easy to channel that childhood excitement in places like aquariums. We jogged from one tank to the next, ooh'ing and ahh'ing. Miles stayed in his stroller most of the time, but protested toward the end of the visit and ended up in our carrier [affiliate link]. He was mesmerized by the walls of blue light, and pointed to a few fish that swam past us.
We'd timed the drive there to coincide with Miles's first nap, which worked perfectly, and the drive home to match up with his second nap, which worked not at all. That baby did not sleep one minute of our return trip! After quite a bit of fussing, I unlocked the motherhood achievement of climbing into the back, bending over his carseat, and nursing him while Kristie drove. I do not recommend this (for obvious safety reasons) – although Miles thought it was hysterical, and it made the rest of the drive go much more smoothly.
We've been leaning into adventures over here lately – I'll share more of them soon!