My oldest daughter, Priscilla, is gone - having the time of her life at a friend's house in Louisville, KY. The problem there is that Prissy has all the best ideas, so many ideas, for how to spend these school-free hours. Let's face it, Ben, Mary and I aren't going to come up with shoebox condos or cities made of Dominoes all on our own. And this character here:
Well, he's too busy chasing after teenagedom to sit at home and play entertainment director for his much younger siblings. The three kids I was left with have vastly different interests, vastly varying ideas of fun. Oh, what to do on a gorgeous open day in July when you're itching to be outside - when you're in the mood to revel in the seasonal novelties of a fast-moving summer?
The Zoo, we all agreed. I couldn't believe it, we all agreed! And thus began a good day - from start to finish just a really nice day - for my mom, Elijah, Benjamin, Mary and me.
I didn't expect all of us to be so taken with the lemurs, the scarlett ibis, the tiny horses. We oohed and awed, and laughed. We genuinely enjoyed the animals, the Styrofoam cups of cold orange Crush bought with gold dollar coins handed out by my mother, the observation tower, even one another (which, ideally, should always be true, but isn't always true because more often than not love is hard and demanding).
I try not to dwell too much - lest I drive myself nuts - on the inconsistencies, the unpredictability of the highs and lows I encounter as a parent. Throughout the rough spells, I pray to make it through to bedtime with as few regrettable choices and reactions as I can (This too shall pass. This too shall ultimately save me). And those intermittent golden moments? Those sweet, encouraging, pure moments of gratitude in which I praise God from the bottom of my soul for gifting me with these specific children, this specific existence? Those I simply savor.
Who knows what tomorrow may bring?