“What was your favorite animal at the the aquarium, Mom?”
I am not good with favorites questions. I rarely have a single favorite; I have a different favorite for every occasion.
“The invertebrates,” I said, and grinned at our son. He rolled his eyes.
“You might as well say ‘the sea life,'” he said.
“The jellyfish, then.”
Planktonic. Drifters. I can’t imagine that kind of life. Just floating wherever the currents take you.
I am hopelessly romantic about the idea of drifting. Despite thinking we want to stay anchored, to settle down in one place, my husband and I have itchy feet — every few years we’re ready to try someplace new. Having children complicates that, though. We don’t want to uproot them from their schools, their friends, their sports teams.
Kids are resilient and will survive, but drifting requires more consideration now than when it was just Brian and me; our perspective has changed since we brought children into our lives. So instead of actually drifting, I live vicariously through coworkers like The Snowmads, Happiness Engineers from Automattic who live and work from their RV. Or Brian and I daydream about one day living on a sailboat, or reminisce about our days on the Chesapeake, or think about living in the heart of a city one day when the kids move away.
Or we visit the aquarium and I get lost in the graceful undulations of the jellyfish. They are carried by the movement of the world they live in. They have no anchor; they will never settle. They have no control over where they go; they do not choose. No decisions to make. No stress. I can’t imagine that kind of life, but it is beautiful to watch.