What a wonderful day it's been! My daughter, son-in-law, granddaughter and I all took off today and went to the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC. We left around 9:30am and arrived just in time to wait in line with hundreds of other "Zoo Trippers". I observed hundreds of two, three, four and five year olds, parents and grandparents in tow, with strollers, coolers, sunglasses, all bright eyed with mouths open in awe.
The Grizzly Bears were first! Maddi fed a huge Giraffe, who seemed to enjoy the ordeal as much as the kids. The Galapagos Turtle was tremendous and stood patiently as the kids stroked his shell. The coloring on the Toucans and Parrots was just amazing and each looked as if it had been handpainted. Howler Monkeys made good their name. The island Monkey display had several active swingers to the delight of the kids as they swung from limb to limb and rope to rope. The Elephants were huge and dusty, fanning themselves with their ears. Lions, Black Foot kittens and Lionesses were out in view. Maddi found "Nemo" in the aquarium and giggled with joy! She was totally amazed and entertained with all the water animals, including the Sea Lion that swam smoothly around his pool, coming up right where the kids stood, for air. I do believe he'd been enjoying the attention because his need for air just happened to be right at the viewing area.
Christie and I thoroughly enjoyed watching as Maddi and Nick, hand in hand, traveled around, seeing the "Next One, Daddy". She was fearless, with Daddy's hand in hers, not afraid to get close to the giraffe and ever consumed by the fish. We ended the trip with a visit to the gift shop, where we purchased a giraffe necklace and brown monkey. All the way home, Maddi talked to both and held them close.
One of my Mother's Day gift from these precious people in my life was a framed picture of Maddi, in her Sunday best, blue eyes and sweet little face. The other was a gorgeous card from Christie, telling me how glad she is to have me in her life. As they apologized for not having money to spend on more elaborate gifts, I reflected and told both that their mere presence was all I required to feel the joy of being a mother. And meant every word.......