The wonderful world of Justice and Mommy aka Mary!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Paying It Forward At Sea World

Justice and I decided to kick off our spring break vacation with a trip to Sea World with Allie and the kids. We had brought Dylan, her step son up from North Palm Beach to spend spring break with his family and we thought it would be nice to visit the park together that day. I had finally talked her into taking advantage of Sea World’s "pay for a day, come back all year" deal for Florida residents, which made trips to the park as a group a reality instead of a dream.

It was a nice day and we were able to take in a few shows and spend a considerable amount of time trying to pet the stingray’s before things went downhill. Justice screamed with glee each time he managed to get his fingers on one of their slippery wings and grumbled in jealousy each time Aunt Allie touched two stingrays for his one. Dylan was the funniest of all. He refused to put his hands in the large tank for fear of his fingers being bitten off; but, he whined and cried because his mommy kept touching stingray’s and he had not. Call me crazy; but, if you don’t put your fingers in the tank your chance of touching the elusive sea creatures goes from 70% to 0%. I guess they haven’t taught statistic’s at his kindergarten just yet.

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After we left the stingray’s we tried to make our way to the dolphins to try see if we could brush our fingertips across their shinny, smooth surfaces; however, to our disappointment they had closed off the area for feeding time. Had we left the stingray’s a few minutes earlier we could have had our chance. Luckily the children found a squirrel to play with just beyond the dolphins. I looked at Allie and said “Gee we don’t have those in West Palm or Ocala”
She looked back at me with a smirk on her face and a glimmer in her eye and said “This must be a “hidden” attraction.” We both laughed

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Next we made our way over to the larger attractions. Allie and I had agreed to split up for a bit so she could take the older children on the Journey To Atlantis, a very large log flume. We were both shocked and a bit apprehensive when Justice said “Hey, I want to go too.”
“Well, I’m willing to take him if he really wants to go.” said Allie
“Are you sure, you really want to go? You want to go on that ride, right there?” I asked while pointing directly to the large downward flume.”
“Yes, that’s what I want to go on.” he said decisively.
I checked with the line attendant to make sure he would have a safe spot to wait in just in case he chickened out, then sent him on with my blessings. I wheeled Matthew over to a prime viewing area then waited for my son to come sweeping down the flume.

Unfortunately it began to rain. At first it was just a light spattering; however, it worked itself into a full downpour, forcing us to take shelter in a close by store and loose our viewing area. I really wanted to see Justice come down the flume; but, I had to settle for the next best thing. A picture.

Andrew, Allies oldest son got off the ride first and as soon as I saw him, I ran over to see the pictures from the ride. Now, I don’t normally purchase those pictures; but, Justice’s face was just too good to pass up. Also they offered an e-mail option for an extra $5, which I thought was well worth the money. Take a look below and see what I mean. Justice is sitting next to Allie and her stepson Dylan is in the back with the funny face.

The real drama began that day just after the Shamu show. We decided to check out Shamu’s Happy Harbor and let the boys play in the nets while we sat down and rested for a bit. Unfortunately, the sky didn’t want to cooperate with us. It had rained off and on earlier and we were already soaked; but, what happened next was just plain ridiculous.

We had just settled into our table and were enjoying some tuna fish sandwiches made by our own Chef Allie when the heavens let loose. The area was only partially covered and the increasing wind turned our partially covered area into something that resembled a drive through car wash. We were the car and the sky and wind were the washing machine.

Following another stranded group we took what you might describe as shelter in another close by area with a lower, solid roof. It was completely unprotected on all sides; but, seemed a bit drier. As we ran from point A to point B we were pelted with balls of hail. The icy spheres from the sky seemed to say “Take that!” “Take that!” as they zeroed in on our unprotected bodies.

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Justice and I had poncho’s which provided some help; but, poor Matthew in the stroller was completely unprotected. The day’s events had completely tuckered him out and he slept soundlessly as the rest of us endured the storm with shivers and goose bumps. A nearby family offered up their dry t-shirts to cover the baby with an huddled closer together to make more room for us. It was humankind at it’s best.

Eventually the storm let up a bit and we all decided to hightail it for the front of the park and our even drier cars. When we tried to return the shirts, the people refused to take them back. They wanted to be sure the baby was as comfortable as possible and we were so thankful for their kindness.

Just a few short weeks ago, Allie had offered up some, pricey straps to a woman in distress on the highway. She was transporting a mattress and had lost it and her rope while driving down the road. She felt so bad for her she gave her the items she needed to secure her property and left with a good feeling in her heart. She knew her family couldn’t afford to replace the straps at that time; but, she also knew the woman was completely stranded without them. She didn’t know that just a short time later another, unrelated family would pay it forward to her at Sea World. That’s the beauty of life in all it’s honesty and truth.

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posted by Mary Gerber at 5/06/2008

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