Jellyfish Zen: My Reprieve from Spring Break Madness

jellyfishCall it madness. Call it craziness. Or just call it flat-out insanity. Spring Break seems to be hitting the Sarasota area really HARD this year. And why shouldn’t it? We have gorgeous beaches and the most perfect weather.
So, I get it. Who wouldn’t want to be here now? But no matter how much spring break chaos may ensue, we locals have to find our zen. This week, I had a little breakdown moment where traffic was horrific and nothing went as planned, but ultimately, I found my source of Spring Break zen that brought peace to even the most harried mom (me).
On Monday of this week, which happens to be during our public school’s Spring Break, I took my daughter, Olive, to Mote Marine. OK, maybe not the smartest of ideas. But she’s off from preschool and I wanted to do something fun and feel a little of the “spring break joy” that everyone else seems to be enjoying. Well, I had hoped that on our way to Mote, we would enjoy a beautiful drive down Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key, and then we could pop into Salty Dog for a few of those fried Mac & Cheese bites…Ha! The bumper to bumper cars just laugh in my face! The trip from West Bradenton to Mote Marine usually takes about 45 minutes, but on this day, it took two and a half hours. So, this was not a pleasant drive. By the time we arrived at Salty Dog, my daughter was having a meltdown and I was really ready for a beer. Unfortunately, for lack of parking spaces (and probably lack of seating), Salty Dog was a no-go; which means no Mac & Cheese bites for Olive and no beer for Mommy. Mental note: the best way to find a parking space at the Salty Dog is to go by boat.
Once we finally arrived at Mote, we worked our way through the crowds to catch a peek of the penguin feeding and push our way to the side of the Touch Tank to feel a sea urchin. The whole experience was exhausting…until we reached the Jellyfish tank where the heavenly creatures were effortlessly swimming. How beautiful. How soothing. We watched the jellies float through the water with grace and lightness and we completely stopped. No more shoving, no more pushing. As they bob back and forth and float by so gently, we are hypnotized. Olive is mesmerized and I have found my “zen” place.
On my drive back home, I am stuck in traffic, at a dead stand-still at the top of the Longboat Pass Bridge. I remember the jellies, look out at the fantastic view and remember that sometimes, slowing down ain’t so bad. Jelly zen works.