I took my niece to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. I used to visit a lot when I was a kid. History has always enchanted me. The idea of lives lived before mine and the impact of their actions on society today is fascinating. It’s so easy to envision yourself in each room, immersed in the society of ancient ancestors hunting, gathering, and caring for their young. The conditions of life in those times, and in some countries now, is truly unimaginable for someone born in America with very little outside views. Someone like myself. While inside the museum, I can close my eyes and almost taste the crisp air around me, filled with blooming trees and foliage as far as my eye can see. Now, I don’t believe we were on the earth at the same time as dinosaurs – my imagination can only go so far – but it’s wild knowing there was a point in time when this beautiful planet was covered in green and blue. Long before the hands of society desiccated the life from her sweet soul.
As I grew older, I stopped involving myself as much. Looking back on my childhood, there were so many missed opportunities because I was constantly chasing the idea of “fitting in.” Solitude was a comfortable place for me and I convinced myself it was wrong, introversion was not encouraged. Added to that, being too smart in my neighborhood was a faux pas and instead of embracing my brain, I turned away from it and tried my best to wash away what I felt were my multitude of sins. Try being called crust for your entire middle school career and decide how much you’d like to stand out. This propelled me into a pretty dark few years, where eyeliner teardrops lined my face along with stars and those classic jelly bracelets. It was definitely a time to be alive. I must acknowledge that I had pretty poor taste in friends then, just blindly trusting whoever showed up in my life – again, not very clever. My mama used to tell me that I had all the smarts in the world, but that common sense didn’t come to me so commonly. Never really made sense to me until I was older and able to look back over my life.
Back to the beautiful day, I had with my niece; we leisurely strolled through the museum taking in the sights. It’s the last few days of school right now, so the place was stuffed with adorable children. I listened to one of the teachers giving a history lesson while they sat around starry-eyed and it made me remember teaching my nieces and nephews about the way the world works. They were all so involved and soaking up each word he had to say. I miss when my babies were younger and more interested in finding out how the world works than consumed with technology and fitting in. Their change comes with age, so it was expected, but the nostalgia runs deep. Totally brought my baby fever to the forefront, but in a playful and enjoyable kind of way, I miss having little ones around. The bigger ones are fun to talk to and the conversations are a lot more meaningful when you have them, but there is a joy in a small child that you won’t find in anyone else. Life hasn’t hit them yet.
One of my absolute favorite places in the museum is an open room with domed cathedral ceilings following the ancient reptiles depending on the route you take. It’s a two-story space with a gorgeous mural on the ceiling, thick and beautifully sculpted columns, and the room still feels incredibly welcoming somehow. A man was downstairs with his child in a wheelchair as well as a woman with her mother in one as well and they were merrily running around the central statue without a care in the world. It’s not a stuffy place to be, fun is everywhere you look.
My niece and I had a really good chat about how she processes what goes on around her and I genuinely feel we had a good bonding experience. That’s always the goal with my lovebugs. Before we made our way outside, we stopped by a gem and stone shop where I picked up a beautiful little banded onyx elephant. I’m not super into the gemstone thing, this is the very first piece I’ve purchased and probably the last, but I looked up the meaning and it’s associated with happiness, good fortune, and strength. Who has two thumbs and could use some strength, balance, and self-control? This chick. I also just happen to adore elephants. They’re majestic creatures.
We made our way outside after viewing the Lego dinosaur underneath the gift shop. It’s super cool, so if you wanna see the cooler stuff first, come in through the front entrance by the triceratops and t-rex. There is a back entrance that’s a lot more low key and not quite as visually stunning, but there are equal amounts of fabulous rooms to see regardless of the entrance chosen. The foliage at the front entrance is absolutely worth the wait if it’s a busy time of the year though, especially if you enjoy taking a good photo in some incredible light. I taught my niece some photography tricks while we were out as well, and she took some incredible photos of me. I’m pretty proud of her for the effort that she put in and the time she took out of her day to spend with me. It can be hard for teenagers to have enough trust in you to give away precious hours of their day.
I’m really bad at faking expressions I don’t feel, but I’m working on it. Eventually I’ll be right up there with the best of them, but for now, I’m weird and I’m perfectly fine with that. To quote Dolly Parton via Willowdean from Dumplin’ on Netflix “Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” Looks like I’m doing it on purpose now.
Where do you take your younger family members (if you have any) when you want to chat? Any particular places you’d recommend for bonding experiences? I’m always looking for new places to check out when I have them with me. It’s incredibly precious time spent and it’s only for a limited time.
Thanks for going to the museum with me lovies! Anything you think I’ve let out, let me know.
As always, you’re absolutely incredible, always! ❤ ❤