This week was Spring Break and I had a Groupon certificate for adult admission to the zoo which would expire during my trip to Europe. So, I took 6 year old Gabriel under the rain threatening skies, umbrella in hand. The word is that “real Seattleites” don’t use umbrellas…but since ours was a child-size version with stars on a deep blue background, I felt it was more a fashion statement. But, besides having lived here for 18 years, I still consider myself a true San Franciscan native.(BTW, it rained a drop, literally so the umbrella was a bit of an annoying appendage.)
A couple of months ago I bought new shoes for the trip and have been wearing them on short excursions around town. There was a little slippage so I bought little Dr. Scholl’s heel guards. Waste of $7.00 as those won’t stay put. Now, with one week to go before I fly to Denver to meet up with my son and family for the flight to Spain, I discovered that walking miles at the zoo (wish I had brought my new Groupon deal pedometer to prove to myself how far we walked! I like little stats like that.) in these shoes was not going to work for The Big Adventure. I’ve walked enough miles to recognize how ill fitting (and expensive Josef Seibel, no less!) shoes not only wreak havoc on my feet, but also my back. And…keeping up with a six year old is another subject altogether.
I came equipped with a Rick Steves’ over the shoulder day pack carrying a water bottle (permanent refillable type), peanut butter sandwiches, and cookies. After relinquishing my adult fare coupon and paying the child price for G., with map in hand, he was raring to go.
“Penguins are here, Grammie! Hurry!” Um…and why are we hurrying already? Well, I’m thinking, he’ll slow down. Ha!
“Can I please have my picture taken in the booth?!?” OK, so, this is a treat trip after all. It’s Spring Break, Easter Bunny is coming in a couple of days (Although he did just mention how the EB isn’t real.), and I am leaving him behind for 3 weeks as I trot the globe with his 3 year old cousin, whom he still likes to call “Baby Jordan.” (I can just imagine him saying that when she’s in high school and he’s in college.) So, he chooses a gorilla for the photo background, takes the $5.00 shot, and we are again on our way.
Gabriel studies the map and asks my advice for the direction of the gorillas. We’re on the ‘skip’ again. I never really fathomed how fast a long legged child can skip away! I lose sight of him and call his name. He answers and I finally catch up. I ask him, OK, I TELL him to keep in my line of sight and to let me know when he is changing paths. He agrees, skips off, and 3 or 4 massive skips later I hear “Switching paths!!”
Three hours later, after seeing all 600 miles of zoo animals (OK, so I exaggerate a little), and have to double back at one point to find the Bug House, we are ready to leave. At least that’s what I thought. He pleaded with me to stop in the Zoo Store. Oh, this commercialism! Oh, these crazy prices! I told him he could buy one or more items as long as he didn’t go over $3.00. After much too much time, he managed to find two items for a little over $2.00. What a good boy!
This little afternoon at Woodland Park Zoo is only a precursor to what I am going to experience on the upcoming trip, I just know it. But what I’m really freaking out about is not so much how Jordan may be skipping off down some narrow Spanish cobblestone road that branches off in a multitude of alleys which I won’t be able to see as I round every bend, it will be the feeling of being lost as my long legged 42 year old son and daughter-in-law leave me in their road dust.
Now I need to definitely find a new pair of shoes with only a week to break them in.