Friday, June 24, 2011

Do you see that?

One of little E’s favorite sayings.  This was especially true on a recent trip to the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.  As I stated on Facebook and Twitter, this was our second trip to this zoo since Little E joined us a little over 2 years ago.  In fact, she was less than a month old when we were there last.  that was a trip that included draping a blanket over the stroller so that our new bundle of joy didn’t get too much sun on her little body.  Needless to say, she slept pretty much the entire time we were there.  I guess it was more of a Mommy and Daddy trip to the zoo back then, mostly to get Mama Bird out of the house.  Now we can’t even get Little E to sleep during the one hour plus ride to the National Aquarium in Baltimore, or, as it turns out, the same length trip to the zoo, never mind her sleeping while we are in the facility.  But she doesn’t enjoy the trip any less, and it makes for a nice, peaceful car ride home.

This was MUCH different from the last trip to the zoo, which we expected, but not just from the standpoint of Little E being much more alert.  The zoo has made some changes, including adding a small train ride and opening a new Prairie Dog exhibit, complete with Prairie “pups”, which make Prairie Dogs all that much more cute (yep, I said cute, don’t judge me!).  But the most exciting change was Little E’s attentiveness and enthusiasm for wanting to see the “amals” (<—not a typo).  From the sleeping Polar Bears to the rambunctious Prairie Dogs, she loved seeing them all.  They even have a Petting “Zoo”, which includes one type of animal: goats.  The goats are great, though, because they take just about anything the kids can dish out.  And Little E is no stranger to following around goats and petting them since we went to Lake Tobias Wildlife Park last year and hung out in their petting zoo. 
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While the trip in general was a great time had by all, the highlight had to be the Prairie Dogs and their babies.  Little E loved watching them pop out from their little burrows and scurry around the habitat.  The little ones were extremely playful and the parents were very loving, not only to the little ones, but also to each other.  While standing there observing (and snapping MANY pictures, some of which you see here) I couldn’t help but notice that their lives seem similar to ours.  The kids wanted to play non stop, even going so far as to bite an adult’s tail here and there just to get their attention, while the parents really just seemed like they wanted some time to themselves, constantly being interrupted by the little ones.  But a big difference between them and us popped up that I had never noticed before.  I try to be as affectionate as possible with Mama Bird, but, sometimes, with work draining my energy and sucking my will to live (OK, maybe not the last part), I may not always come across that way.  And I think that may be true for all families.  Someone in the house has to work to pay the bills, something Prairie Dogs don’t have to worry about, and it allows us to sometimes neglect the ones we love the most.  I try my best, but sometimes my best isn’t enough, so I have to go that extra mile (literally, as Mama Bird likes to go for walks in the evening) in order to spend quality time with my family.  Sadly, not everyone does that.  Not everyone is as dedicated as they want to be all the time.  Or even as dedicated as they think they are being.  Family comes first, always has in my book, even before Little E graced us with her presence.  Have I slipped here and there?  Sure I have, but it’s always for the good of the family.  Overtime is my friend because it means more opportunities for the ones I love, but it can also be a bad thing for people who only think of themselves and not the family as a whole.
My family always comes first.  I never work an extra day, schedule an appointment, or make plans of any kind without first speaking with Mama Bird.  The well-being of our family is taken into consideration with every decision that we make.  When I first pitched my latest idea to Mama Bird, I was afraid she would think I was crazy.  And maybe she did, just a little bit, because she knows that it is going to take a lot of time and effort to get things off the ground.  And all that time and effort is in addition to working my current hours, which can fluctuate quite a bit depending on the day.  But the end will be justified by the means, and the end result will be a happy, well-taken-care-of family.  A dream come true.

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