Thursday, May 29, 2008

Mother's Pride

I found myself with an unexpected day off...I'll get into that in another post, at another time...and since Grandma had already made the trip over to our house to watch the girls while I worked, we decided that we should use this bonus day of fortune to take the girls to the zoo. We have been trying to pick a day to go there for weeks now, but have otherwise been thwarted by bad weather or some sort of appointment. But today, the skies were mostly clear, the temperature was in the high 60's, and there were no appointments to be we went.

We arrived at the park at around 12:30 and, at Big's request, we headed almost immediately for the elephants. She was excited to see if they would squirt her with their trunks. I was leery. The last time we faced these giants (about a year ago), we ended up making a hasty retreat, Big covering her eyes to shield herself from the horror that was the fact most of the animal exhibits ended that way; the giraffes, the aquarium, the bears...etc. I was afraid that we might see a repeat of last year's trip...but it was not so. As we approached the elephants from a distance, she saw them, and immediately got excited. (This was a good sign. I let myself get just a bit hopeful, while still cautiously awaiting screams and tears.) We pulled up next to the railing of the elephant exhibit and, to my amazement, there was no screaming. She wanted closer. In fact, she wanted in the exhibit so she could pet them, instead. (duh, Mom!) I was impressed! And that's pretty much how she reacted to all of the animals that we saw. She wanted to touch them all...even the cheetah, who Grandma assured her would eat her if given the opportunity (gee, thanks Grandma). I was so excited for my big girl, that she was having such a good time and was so happily taking everything in, and then...despite my doubt that it possibly could...the day got even better.

Grandma: Wanna ride a pony Big?!

Big: Yeah! Yeah, Gwamma!!

"Hmmmm...," I thought. I was skeptical...sure that she would ideally like to ride a horse...but felt certain that there was no way we were going to make it through this one without some sort of meltdown and hasty retreat. A knot appeared in my stomach. I hoped that this wouldn't ruin our day by turning her into a tearful, disappointed, frightened, snotty mess.

Grandma: You're gonna ride a horsey?

Big: Yeehaw!! (Apparently that means yes in "cowgirl")

"Ughhhhhhh, great," I thought as we went up to buy her ticket. I only hoped she wouldn't leave the line damaged and sad...but was her turn...and she did it. She really did it, all by herself. I don't think she's smiled as much in her whole entire lifetime as she did during those four rounds around the ring that she made on her pony, Norman's back. She wasn't even the tiniest bit hesitant to go up and hop right on when it was her turn. Her joy was priceless, I wanted to cry. I was so proud. Sometimes I am only able to sit back and look at her with wonder and amazement at how she approaches things in life with so much gusto and joy. I really admire that in her, my little girl who is getting so big before my eyes. ::sniff:: She blows me away sometimes.

And, at the end of the day; 4 chicken nuggets, 2 elephants, 2 giraffes, 6 different species of felines, 2 hippos napping in the water, at least 10 different species of African animals, 1 pony ride, 1 train ride, 2 merry go round rides, and 1-15 minute ride home, Big lay her sleepy head down on her Disney Princess pillowcase and slept soundly in her bed...dreaming of her first pony ride, and her buddy Norman, I'm sure.

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