Standing on the concrete pier, a gentle breeze brushed across my face as I held my little love- my one year old niece, Aila. The weather was that of a normal spring day in the Pacific Northwest: wet, chilly, grey with a light sprinkle coming from the grey clouds above. Bundled up in our sweaters and jackets her small fingers wrapped around my arms tightly. On this day, we stood in front of the Seattle Aquarium. This will be her first trip to the aquarium and will become an annual event for her and her Uncle Bubbers.
As we walked inside, a diverse group of people, school students, couples, and other families, surrounded us. Standing in line, I thought to myself what a wonderful experience I can give my little love, something I never got to enjoy as a child. This was only my second trip to the aquarium, the previous trip only being a year earlier. I paid for our tickets and moved on into the big room with the gigantic 128,000 gallon fish tank. Thriving with life, the Rockfish, Salmon, Wolf Eels, and other various aquatic life swam around peacefully and freely. My niece, now perched on top of my shoulders, was in awe. She was giggling, and laughing as all the little creatures swam by.
Moving on, we examined the crashing wave’s exhibit. The waves, moving back and forward, crashed into the walls of the tank violently. Little creatures thrived in this, what looked like a hostile environment. This brought back memories of better times, when my family and I lived in Virginia Beach, Virginia right next to the ocean. I moved around a lot as a child. It was normal living more places than I have fingers and toes. Virginia was nice though, all sorts of family whom still reside there surrounded me. This is something my little love will grow up with, and I know her mother will keep her in a stable home and environment. Family is important, and she will always be able to count on her Uncle Bubber’s to be there for her, no matter what.
At the Giant Pacific Octopus exhibit, it was feeding time. All sorts of people crowded around, shoulder-to-shoulder, to watch as they fed the two octopi. They reside in their two vertical cylindrical tanks and the single horizontal tube that connected the two cylinders together. The octopi looked like some sort of alien, changing colors from purple to red within a second, and swimming around like liquid. My little love was quite fascinated with the creatures as she watched them with wide eyes; she had a look of fascination on her face.
Feeding time was now over, and the large crowd dispersed in every direction. Two thick red rubber tentacles hung from the wall, a picture of an octopus is painted behind them to make it look more realistic. As I held my niece now with one arm, I wrapped one of the tentacles around my shoulder, letting it dangle down over my chest. I asked a stranger, who was still examining the two octopi with his family, to take a quick picture; I made a funny face as if I was being attacked. My niece was grinning happily as the stranger took the picture. Moments of glee and happiness are the moments I wish to give my niece for the rest of her life.
We moved to the touch pool now, we got to examine and touch all the small creatures. Multi colored sea anemone, small to gigantic starfish, and other creatures reside in their little habitats. Sticking my hand into the very frigid water, I touched a starfish. Its skin was thick and rough and its color was a very vivid orange. The pain of the cold water reminded me of my mother’s passing, a pain I hope my little love will never have to endure. Even though it was an accidental overdose after a surgery, the pain will last forever. She will always be missed.
We then moved to the bird exhibit, paying particular attention to the Tufted Puffin. These are one of my…