On Easter Sunday my wife and I decided to take our son to the Lincoln Park Zoo to get out and enjoy the day. It was beautiful weather and I had been wanting to take him to see the animals since Spring had hinted at arriving. I wanted to see what it would be like for him to see larger animals than our dog and cat wandering around in front of him.
Only one animal out of all we saw caught his attention and it was only for a brief moment. To the left you can see my wife pointing out the giraffe and yet the only thing interesting him was the water moat separating us from the animals. Every environment we walked up to did not interest him. He just casually sat in his stroller and soaked up the sun and fresh air.
He seemed to love people watching as we strolled past and began talking to whoever would listen. We would pull him out of his seat to look at the gorillas, big cats, polar bear and other smaller animals but none of them caught his eye. He was more interested in everything around us within arms reach rather than the animals behind the barriers.
As we walked through the park after trying to bring his attention to the gorillas I told my wife that I felt this trip to the zoo was more for us than him. That we were getting more out of trying to show him these fun and amazing new animals. He was caring less about what was being pointed out to him and was enjoying more just being out in the fresh air and feeling the warmth of the sun.
We decided to also give him his first ride on a carousel. At first he seemed a little nervous sitting on top of the giraffe but once the carousel began spinning he began enjoying the ride. He did however seem to be more amazed at how the thing worked than how the world around him was spinning by.
Again, this first moment was more for my wife and I than for our son. These things we are doing with our son aren’t going to be lasting memories for him. He’ll probably never remember his first few trips to the zoo, but we’ll always cherish these moments. Both in fleeting memories and photos taken. We’ll have these first moments to remember what it was like raising our son in the city during his first year of life and how challenging the change going from a family of two to a family of three was.
Even with knowing these experiences won’t be part of his childhood memories, it doesn’t keep me from wanting to share with him these new experiences. It makes me want to do more with him because these are the moments I want to remember and cherish. These small moments in time are what make raising a child fun. There will be many moments in our life that are large and will always be remembered, but it’s these small moments that will last forever in that speck of time. The moments where it was nothing more than spending time together and enjoying the day for what it was, a day spent creating memories.