My generous and aquarium-loving dad got us a family membership to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. Two adults and two kids are admitted free as our guests - so come on!!
A history of fish if you have a moment...
Before I could tell you about different animals at the zoo, I knew a 'placo' from an 'oscar.' In our childhood basement playroom, my dad built a 90+ gallon fish tank into a wall display, and come to think that was actually our family's second. The first fish tank of my life was featured in our living room. While dad was finishing our basement, my mom suggested the fish be permantly relocated. They took center stage in our playroom. The star was placo, the placostamous (sp?), or otherwise known as a 'bottom sucker fish'. Dad loved that catfish-looking guy.
When we moved 1 mile south in 1994, the playroom fish tank didn't make the trip. However! My brother and I were big kids and it was time for dad to outfit our bedrooms with proper tanks. Let me just say, I had my very own pets spanning angel fish to hermit crabs to hamsters. My brother maintained, with dad's practically professional help, a 90+ gallon tank of large (I mean bigger than your hands they were so huge) oscars and other friends/food. That wasn't the only tank in his room, though it was so grand the stand had to be placed on the strongest part of the floor. He had frogs, toads, snakes etc. all at different times.
Dad was always quick to make dreams of tank-pets come true. He was a dreamer right along with us kids, and still is.
Dad's been eager to take David to the Shedd since before he could walk. Just last week he called to let us know he'd purchased a membership for our family and friends. We strategically went this past Friday to test out the arrival/departure logistics and exhibits. Our first stop was the dolphin show. The sight of David sitting on Dad's lap, pointing at fins popping up out of the water saying, 'WOW COOL!' warmed my heart in a deep way.
Dad's childhood was nothing near as safe and full as he made ours to be. It's a wonder he stepped into his Dad Shoes as fearlessly and joyously as he did. Dad's generosity and his overflow of love for us, and now his grand-kids, comes from his faith in a God of generosity and never-ending love.
When I think of my dad, I often think of 1 John 3:1:
How great is the love the father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God and that is what we are.
My dad's appreciation of tank life began in childhood as well. We called his father 'Papa Junkin' because of all the amazing junk in his basement. (Imagine hours and hours of entertaining hunts through mazes of antique and collected junk). When we cleaned my Grandpa Junkin's basement out years ago, there were many, many tanks.
Dad did mention on Friday that he remembered visiting the Shedd when it was just the main large aquarium. So, the history of fish then, must have begun a long, long time ago. I guess it's a history of love between son, father, grandfather, and now grandson.