This season pass has paid for itself over, and over again. It allows us to leisurely stroll through the zoo so my little guy can spend extra time doing important things like this: sitting on a very hot tiger sculpture. He wants off, he wants on, he wants off, he wants it cooler… he wants to yell, and climb, and challenge the other children to a duel when they come near.
His smile says, “Come and play”, but his eyes say, “I dare you”. Whether we are at the zoo, the library, or our own back yard, the teachable moments are plentiful with my punky. With the zoo, I find myself particularly challenged as a patient mother. He is nearing 3 years, and as much fun as that is, he tempts me to leash him on the regular. I went so far as to purchase one, but won’t succumb to the leash. Owning it gives me great comfort and makes me swear to never judge another parent for any choice they make. Because, one of these days it might just make an appearance, wrist to wrist. He is at the age where stroller confinement equals torturous screams; ones that even produce sympathetic “awws”, and pity faces from strangers. How could I be so mean, they wonder? Why won’t I let him out instead of shushing him to death? Why is she barreling to the car as the zoo has only been open for 20 minutes? They’ve missed his quest to be one with the animals, at any cost. They fail to see my ridiculous attempts to reason while he strikes me in the face. They can’t see me trying to positively parent with all my strength and bite my tongue so hard it bleeds.
But, at the end of the day, I have to know it’s alright. As I sigh a deep breath I can’t help but thank how grateful I am that we can return later this week to the zoo, and try this all again. Because in the end, we are blessed to try at all, even when it ‘s tough to see in the moment.