My five-year old Faith is the best sick kid in the world. She insists on helping clean up any “grossness,” never cries or whines and is a champ about taking medicine. So if someone had asked me which kid I wanted to get sick on the way home from a 1000 mile trip to help my partner’s ex-husband’s family move (I’m not even kidding. It’s a blog for another day.), I would have said, “Faith” without skipping a beat. But no one asked me that. If someone had I would have been better prepared and I wouldn’t have promised the crew a stop at the Georgia Aquarium.
When Faith screamed from the back seat of the van that she had to throw up, our family jumped into action. Dawn got us to the shoulder of the road and jumped out while Storm unbuckled Faith while William cleared a path for her to walk through while Ray picked up his feet so she could get past. I opened the door for her and found the paper towels. She puked up dinner and breakfast. Her twin, William hung out the door and cheered her on, “You’re doing great Faithy. Good girl. You’re OK, Faith. I’m right here.” The boys switched seats so she could sit by the door. She very matter-of-factly told us when she was done, wiped her mouth and asked if we were still going to the aquarium.
Back on the road with less than 50 miles to Atlanta, Faith threw up again, this time in a Tupperware. I turned around in my seat, held the bowl for her and wiped her face. This time she smiled, assured us that was the end of it and reminded us that she was totally fine to go to the aquarium. The moment of truth came and Dawn took the Aquarium exit. I dumped out a bag and repacked it with paper towels, extra clothes and a contraband sippy cup of Gatorade. While everyone found their shoes, Dawn and I worked out a game plan.
As soon as we got there, Dawn took the boys to the nearest round of exhibits, and Faith and I scoped out a snuggly place in front of the massive glass wall housing the whale sharks. I could write and cry and sing about the whale sharks for days, but this story is about Faith. She dry-heaved in paper towels while I rubbed her hair and counted out the names of the fish that I knew and made up funny ones for the ones I didn’t. The rays cooperated by flying in unison in time to the music. Dawn and the boys looped through, gave us the stroller and pointed us to the next still and quiet place. We moved to the Coral Reef exhibit and watched Nemo and Dorie play in the surf. Dawn looped back through, told us the next spot and so on.
We were parked in front of the Belugas when Faith, my hero said, “I want to be all done now.” She made it just over an hour and through 4 throw-ups. Storm, William and Ray easily rounded up and did a world-record spree through the gift shop. On the hike back to the van, Dawn said, “I had a great time. Is that weird?” I looked at Storm and William holding hands, Ray perched on Dawn’s shoulders and playing with her hair and then Faith sleepily rubbing the Mommy and Baby Beluga Whales that she had rightfully earned and said, “No, it’s just right.”
So score one for the family with 2 Mommies who orchestrated the quickest tour on record through the biggest aquarium in the world, 1 very brave little girl who now feels much better and 3 boys who loved their sister enough to skip the touch pool.