Although there are now less than three weeks left in the school year, today we had a PD day. At first I thought it would be nice to have a lazy day at home, but I casually mentioned “renewing our zoo passes” and the kids lost their minds. The zoo! The zoo! THE ZOOOOOOOOOO! Even though they were just at the zoo last week, it seemed that it would be the answer to all their dreams to have a zoo day.
How could I say no? I hadn’t been to the zoo myself since before the flood last year, so I spent some frustrating minutes registering my car for the “easy online parking” and off we went, armed with sandwiches and snacks. And what a great day it was! Honestly, I feel like I could make an entire growth chart based solely on my declining levels of anxiety at the big play park, or my diminishing levels of exhaustion post-zoo-trip. It used to be that the play park, with the structures netted so that children don’t fall to their deaths, was immensely stress-inducing, what with each child going in different directions and inevitably getting stuck somewhere in said netted structure that was set up so that no one larger than age 12 could access it and hence, I would have to calmly talk the stranded children down, amid the shrieking and excited hordes of children. IT’S OKAY, HONEY, JUST PUT YOUR FOOT THERE…YES…YOU CAN DO IT…IT’S OKAY…hey, where’s Jake? Now I just sat on a bench that was our designated meeting place and stared pleasantly into space while the boys climbed and slid and checked in with me. Lately I’ve been a bit Landslide-y about the fleeting nature of time, but today I watched a several women wrangle a tantruming toddler with a running-away preschooler, and that, along with the exhausted looking stroller brigade, made me cheerfully click my heels as I walked with the kids and their backpacks which held supplies for the entire day.
Seriously, this is such a fun age. The kids were interested in reading the signs that went with the exhibits, that detailed habitats and diet and where the species lay on the “endangered” spectrum. Grizzlies are on the “to watch” list.
Remember Jake’s sadness with the passing of Foggy the hippo? Well, Foggy’s grandson, now at the zoo, is the bomb. We watched the sleeping hippo open his eyes, wiggle his ears, yawn, and, ultimately, honk and Jake was so sure that it was all for his benefit. If you tell Jake that hippos don’t actually telepathically communicate with him, then I will cease to be your friend. Because look at this happy face:
School and activities mean that we have so few of these days together, the three of us. We used to spend all our days together, and now it’s just enough to make such outings feel so special. I don’t know how many summers I have left, spending time with the boys in this capacity. I wish it could last forever, but it can’t.