When we are children we live in a world of play and make believe naively unaware of the responsibilities and pressures that come with adulthood. As teens we are so eager to become adults that we practice, often poorly, the roles we hope to assume. Then as young adults, as responsibilities mount, we begin to realize that childhood was pretty glorious and that maybe we shouldn’t have rushed it.
The incredible thing about having your own children is that while responsibilities still exist and you have the added stress of raising another person on this earth, you have moments when childhood gets so close you can feel the absolute thrill of an ice cream truck’s song, the delight of a painted butterfly and in our case, here in Oceanside, the curiosity and fear that comes with seeing your first shark and the new, amazing sensation of the tide rushing over your feet.
Yesterday we visited Sea Life, a Lego themed aquarium associated with the Lego Land theme park in Carlsbad. A dark maze of sharks, octopuses, sea urchins and stingrays in this underwater adventure gave my once land-locked child his first taste of ocean life. Curiosity of the unknown shadowed any caution I thought Elias would have in the cavernous displays. I’d go so far as to say that he was fearless, but the giant stingray and bullhead shark that floated by gave him immediate cause for concern. While the underwater world does not thrill me so much I had an amazing morning watching Elias point at colorful fish, play with buttoned displays and dance on lighted floors.
From indoor to outdoor sea life we spent the early evening walking the beaches of Encinitas. Eli’s laughter when the water swept over his feet was intoxicating. It was joy personified. His sandals and pants were soaked but he remained unaware because the moving tide was all consuming.
I wonder when it is that we lose sweet abandonment and the ability to become completely engrossed in such simple effects. As adults have we lost this capability or is it hidden beneath layers of presumptive appearances? The good news is that you can experience it all over again with each of your children, starting from the newborn days until… well I hope indefinitely.