Last week, in the middle of doing something completely unrelated, Harper came into the kitchen and said to me, “Remember when we went to Boston? That was so exciting.”
“So exciting” is a new phrase for her, and she’s trying it out all over the place. She is “so excited” to go to the beach in a few weeks. Water play on Fridays at school is “so exciting.”
But she was right – Boston was very exciting, and I think it will rank as one of the highlights of our year. In addition to the musical evening with Uncle Matt, there was plenty of other fun. We rode the swan boats in Boston Commons, tried out the carousel, splashed in the frog pond, played on a playground with a just-challenging-enough ladder to climb, had lunch at a deli that had been around since 18-something, rode the train, had ice cream, found another playground, played at a water park, ate hummus on the back porch, and helped Aunt Lynn water the plants.
And that was just the first day.
The next day, we spent the day at the New England Aquarium, where we watched penguins waddle across the rocks and made sounds effects for the fish in the giant tank that is the centerpiece of the aquarium. The tiny fish sped by, saying “Gotta go! Gotta go!” The shark moved more slowly: “Ba-dum. Ba-dum. Ba-dum.” There were a couple of huge sea turtles and sting rays, jellyfish, starfish we could touch, and more fish than we could count.
Harper and her elephant both got a chance to try out Uncle Matt’s guitar.
The last morning we were there, we took it easy and just went for a walk around a pond near Lynn’s apartment, where Harper threw rocks in the water.
But the picture of this trip that will always be etched in my head is not one that I have a photograph of. I will always remember how she looked when we arrived at the airport, parked the car, and walked to the shuttle bus stop. She was still wearing the green dress she’d worn to church that morning, and she was full of questions about what we were doing: why did we leave the car? Where was the bus? How would we get to the airplane? When would we get to Boston? One hand pulled the pink ladybug suitcase she’d insisted on bringing, and the other hand held on tightly to mine. She held her head up, bravely heading out into the big world, a little nervous at what lay ahead, but confident that it would be an adventure we could handle together. I felt honored to be her guide.