I was a good child. I never really asked for much. Alphabet doll, tennis rackets, roller skates…..just the normal basic stuff. My parents had a really easy time I think. Actually, probably all parents in the 70-80’s had it easier that today’s parents do in some ways. We played outside and didn’t ask for toys that cost a full month’s wages. It is amazing to me how expensive it is to entertain a child. And as for the art of guilt tripping….I was obviously an amateur back in my day. When I would ask for something, I was the one that was immediately on the road to guilt….just for asking. Now, my kids make me feel like I murdered a flock of baby birds with my bare hands every time I won’t buy them a pack of gum. It can really wear on a person.
Spring break is nothing like a break at times. In the past, I have tried to schedule a trip or something fun (and inevitably expensive) for the family. Keeping us busy busy busy having fun fun fun was in my self proclaimed job description and I had to make every minute count! By the time spring break was over, we were all so tired we needed another break. The kids would head back to school exhausted and I would wonder where the quality time had gone. This year, before the break even arrived, I asked the kids what they wanted to do. Did they want to go on a trip or make some plans? They all said a unisonically (own word, yes) NO. I was a bit taken back but GREATLY relieved! This spring break has been just that. A break. We have done nothing but sit around and watch tv and movies and play games. We have stayed up late (really late) every night and slept in til noon. It has been great.
Today I decided we really needed to do SOMETHING, so we went to the zoo. We went to the zoo a lot the first year we lived here but haven’t been much since then. The weather was amazing today, even though we didn’t hit the park til around noon. It is really risky doing anything outside at noon in phoenix when the sun is shining. It can get hot enough to fry your brain inside your head, through a hat, on some days. The funniest part was trying to find sunscreen at the outdoor sport supply store. They said it was a ‘seasonal item.’ I had to stop and think for a moment…..in Phoenix? Surely you jest. They did end up finding us some but not without me laughing at them a bit.
The zoo was great. The weather was nice enough to let the animals actually move around a bit. The otter was in a coma…..either caused by the low water level in his pond or the mystery meet lying next to it. The Pronghorn were in a constant state of “where am I” as we tried to entice them with the “nothing” we held out in our hands. The desert chipmunks were fat and happy and willing to walk right up to our outstretched hands (also filled with nothing) like they were at a wildlife buffet. The zebras were too interested in looking at each others stripes to notice us, probably trying to figure out for themselves if they were white on black or black on white…
My favorite is always the big cats. It is hard to image that they would hurt me in any way. They all look so soft and cuddly. As I look at the two purring kitties on my bed right now, I still think it would be fun to snuggle with a mountain lion. The purr those cats have must shake the walls! I remember seeing a park ranger type guy at a jungle safari park in Florida as he worked with a big cat. He was in the cage with him and it was kind of sitting on his lap. He was spending “quality time” with the cat so he would be a happy kitty and know he was part of their family and not just a show thing. The cat was just licking and licking his arm as he pet him. He told us that it looked like an affectionate gesture and that it was in a way but the tongues on those cats were really rough, designed to take flesh off of bones. It was actually quite painful for him.
Usually the big cats just sit and sleep. Today, as we stood looking at the lion snooze, he suddenly jumped up and practically danced in a circle. I do believe my jaw dropped open. Then, we heard it. The sprinklers were on. A good example of cats not liking water.
I always wanted a big cat while I was growing up. It was one of those things I asked for, for years. My parents usually got me what I asked for, but never that. I suppose it was for the great good and all that….but I feel a bit deprived. Who knows how I would have turned out if I had been raised alongside a panther, tiger, lion, or bobcat? I could be a totally different person. I might even be able to properly purr!! Seriously, think about the things your kids ask you for. Maybe they really do need it…..or….maybe theydon’t. Cause I said so.