Sunday morning. My daughter called.
“Want to take the kids to the zoo?”
“Is the zoo open this time of year?”
“Yeah, for Halloween. The kids wear their costumes and go trick or treating there.”
By kids she meant her son who’s five and my other daughter’s two little girls, one six and the other five.
“How long will we be?”
“A couple of hours.
“The weather reports says it’s going to be 54° but with gusty winds and a few drizzles later in the afternoon. Better wear something to keep warm and dry.”
I dressed appropriately.
And so we all schlepped to the zoo. The kids were costumed-up with painted faces and held little buckets of plastic jack-o-lanterns for the cache of free candy they were going to get.
As soon as we arrived, I knew we were in for a long afternoon. Why?
1) Long line to get into the parking lot.
2) Long walk to get to the entrance of the zoo.
3) Long line to pay admission.
4) The sun was shining.
Fifteen minutes in the zoo.
“I know. It was supposed to be colder than this. Take your jacket off.”
Twenty minutes in the zoo.
“My feet hurt.”
“I know. Mine too.”
Thirty minutes in the zoo.
“Yeah, me too.”
Forty-five minutes in the zoo.
“Ugh, I’m bored.”
“Ya know, if you don’t stop complaining, I’m not going to take you with me next year.”
Sixty minutes in the zoo.
“Can we go home now?”
“Mother! For heaven’s sake! Stop whining! Your setting a bad example for the kids!”
“And if you’re going to act like this, I don’t know if I want you going with us to see the Lights Before Christmas.”
“Where? Here at the zoo?”
“Will it be colder out?”
“Because I’m already dressed for it.”
“Mother, you’re being silly.”
“So, let me see if I got this right. You want me to come here just to look at a bunch of lights?”
“Yes, The whole zoo is lit up. It’s gorgeous!”
“And we’re going to walk this whole zoo again in frigid weather?”
“Mom, it’s the experience. The kids will have wonderful memories.”
“But I can drive through McDonalds, get a nice cup of hot chocolate, and then drive around all the neighborhoods and see how pretty all those lights are. It’ll be warm in the car and my feet won’t hurt.”
“Mom, you don’t have to go if you don’t want to.”
I looked around at my three grandkids.
“Yeah. Being in a warm car is not as important as being in their memories.”