These are letters to Jack, my son, and my daughter, Audrey. You have given me the gift of motherhood. This is just a little gift back. I want to share my experiences with you of your childhood from my perspective of watching you grow - of being your Mom.

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Same But Very Different


It's no secret that we love to visit the Lake. We share a place with other family members that we all went in on together. The result is a built in vacation home that we all take care of and get to visit year round for some much needed R&R from our daily grinds.
The nice thing about partnering with family is that you can drop in on someone else's weekend (checking in advance, of course), usually without upset to the other family whose weekend it is - just as long as it doesn't happen ALL the time. :)We had a couple of wonderful weekends recently where we visited the Lake at the same time as my family and then invited Clay's brother and niece, Hannah, down for a visit the following weekend.Both were fantastic experiences!With my side of the family, you got to enjoy Baby Charlie whom you get along with very well.Even though he is so much smaller, he is very active and, as a result, you treat him much more like a peer than a younger child. He seems to like the fact that you expect more out of him. You are patient but will bring him a 25 piece puzzle and fully expect that he will sit there and assemble it with you. Charlie does his part by scrambling up the pieces with very busy hands reaching and grabbing in the box while you go about the business of assembly. There is always much to do when we are all together - boating, swimming, eating and LOTS of conversation.The following weekend, we hadn't had enough time to satisfy us, so we headed down again. This time, we invited Scott and Hannah to join us. Watching you with Hannah - or any older kid, but Hannah in particular - is an experience. It's a chance to see you in a different element - being challenged to stretch further, do things that you may not ordinarily try simply because you see an older child being successful at it.We decided to take you guys to an animal park that your Daddy and I first visited for my 30th birthday. Daddy had read about this park where you could actually feed the animals and knew that this would be RIGHT UP MY ALLEY!It really is kind of my Disney World!The animals roam their huge pens and approach the windows of your cars to be fed - and I'm talking BIIIIIIIIIG animals.Camels, llamas, Cape Buffalo, Buffalo, Long Horn Steer, Rams, Goats, Ostriches, Emu's, Zebras, ZeDonks, deer, and on and on and on.....They just walk right up to the car and expect fast food. They are very trusting and usually good about taking food from your hand, but you have to be careful. They are hungry and they are animals and they are simply trusting that what you put in their mouth is edible, so you need to be careful not to include your fingers.I love that there is a place like this because it's the only place I know of where you can get THIS hands on with animals like this and I wouldn't be too surprised if it didn't last much longer. There are a lot of things about this place that I think are only still around because people who would have problems with it don't know that it exists.When going through this park, you have to be absolutely willing to sacrifice your car. You will come out with dents. Guaranteed.Avalanches of spit will flow down your car doors as the anticipated food in the minds of the animals causes them to salivate at a rate that I would have thought impossible. Large animals will hop on their hind legs and lean against your car for better leverage to cram their maws in through the window hole so you can shove food into their eager and available faces.
While we were there, a frustrated Ram wasn't getting as much food as he wanted since we were fairly distributing it to all the animals at the window one at a time and decided to ram the side of the car until food was rained down on him to get him to QUIT IT!A zebra decided to try to chew on the top of the car and at one point a long horn steer scratched a big scratch up the side of the car when he attempted to use his long horns to remove his competition from our car window area to better position himself. So there is the risk of car damage, potential biting, ramming and goring, but other than that.... :) Actually the risk is mostly to the vehicle provided you are cautious in your feeding attempts, so I feel confident in bringing you through the park.This ZeDonk almost pushed his entire body through the window - so eager was he to get a taste of your Cheetos that you were snacking on. You just calmly replied to him "Nooooooo ZEDONK, dey not fo yoooouuuu."

But how else am I going to get the opportunity for you to hand feed a Dangerous CAPE BUFFALO?And, that's what's REALLY important, isn't it?Love,


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