Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Introducing SALUMAXIMUS: The Great Sea

Nothing makes me prouder than my kid.  He's the one thing I've been responsible for that I KNOW I'm doing the best I can, and that my best is pretty darn impressive!  I allow myself that even in those times when it feels like nothing else I do is right.  Part of raising this beautiful, brilliant child, has included nurturing his passions.  I've been nurturing his passions since he could demonstrate he had them.  Starting at about 3 or 4 years old when he would scream and holler bloody murder because he didn't want to get out of the tub without me reading the Little Fish book to him one. more. time.  "I'm a little fish, I like to get all wet, I have a little octopus, he's my little pet, we swim swim swim, we swim swim swim, we swim swim swim some more,  we swim swim swim, we swim swim swim, until we reach the shore!"  Every bath time he made me read that padded waterproof book at least 20 times.  It will forever be imprinted on my brain... every line, every picture.
He has been in love with water and marine life since at least that far back, and I made it a point to feed that love as often as possible.  It would not be far into his first years of elementary when he told me he wanted to be a marine biologist.  That seems like a million years ago....way back when we were members at the L.A. Zoo and the Long Beach Aquarium, and, yes, platinum card holders at Sea World San Diego and we milked those memberships for all they were worth and then some.  He had ocean themed birthday parties year after year, and as he got older they became Pyrate parties, because how many times can you really have whales and dolphins for a party before it starts to be uncool to your son and his friends?  We took vacations that were always near a body of water where we could snorkel and explore the ocean, including Puerto Vallarta, Florida, and the Bahamas.  We took a spring break road trip up the coast of California and visited every aquarium, marine life rescue center, marine life reserve, and university lab/aquarium we could find between L.A. and San Francisco.  One of the highlights of that trip was a beach near Santa Cruz where we walked 3 miles down a series of bluff and cliff trails to the ocean where and saw hundreds of enormous elephant seals basking on the beach in the sun.  A couple of years ago, for his birthday he requested a high school marine biology text book from a homeschool website, and marine specimens and a dissection kit from a science education website. We've been contributing to his personal library of books on related subjects since he began to use words.  He has swam with dolphins, manta rays, and 2 years ago we had the unforgettable opportunity to swim in the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico with Whale Sharks bigger than a large school bus! 
This year has been an exciting time for the Pyrate.  He's managed to complete a full year of 8th grade in a semester, and was advanced midyear to 9th grade.  By the fall he will be starting 10th grade, with almost all AP classes, and taking 2 courses at the local community college.  He's really excited and has the best kind of confidence building.... the kind you get when you work hard for something and finish it well and with acclaim.
Soon he will begin training to be a camp counselor at the Long Beach Marine Institute where he'll assist in teaching younger kids about the ocean, ecology, and marine life.  He has also applied for a position as a docent at the Cabrillo Aquarium in the Aquatic Nursery, and the youth volunteer program in the fall at the L.A. Zoo.  We've also begun the overwhelmingly complex business of college exploration.  So far there's a couple of Ivy League institutions, and one UC institution on his favorites list....oh yeah, (selective amnesia) and Alaska University of the Pacific.  And somewhere in the midst of all of that, he'll be taking his first ever scuba certification course and training.  A very exciting time indeed.  Which brings me to the purpose of this post...
The Pyrate has just launched SALUMAXIMUS: The Great Sea, a blog where he will share things he's doing, articles about marine life and ocean ecology, and anything else he feels like sharing related to the topic.  If you have a teen child, please share his blog with them.  But it's not just for teens.  The information he will be posting is interesting for people of all ages.  So check it out soon, and join us on this amazing ocean voyage!

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