I wish I had a photograph to go with this post, but Sam and I share a camera and he uses it for work. Today, Manny and I went to the zoo, because, well, we had absolutely nothing else to do. No people to hang out with, no errands to run and he and I both woke up knowing it and were equally irritable. After making some calls and not finding anyone to hang out with, we decided to brave the March chill and go see some animals.
It was the perfect day to be at the zoo. Not crowded and the lion was roaring on and off the whole time we were there. And, for a lot of that time, we were watching him! We saw giraffes, hippos, an elephant, and several orangutans. But the most notable thing to me was that, for the entire time we were there, Manny stayed at each exhibit longer than anyone. And the only reason he moved at all was because I made him. Crowds of people would come, say, "Hey! Look!", and go, but not Manny. He was really taking it all in. And I am thankful that it dawned on me that his deep appreciation of things is a gift. My impulse was to shuffle through the whole zoo in 90 minutes, just like everybody else. But he could have stayed in the African bird jungle for the entire morning watching the black and white polka-dotted turkey guys strutting around.
Next time we go to the zoo, I will go prepared to hang out with the giraffes for an hour if Manny wants to. He may grow out of this mode of observation, but I don't want it to be because I give him the message that quantity of things and speed is better than really seeing the beauty and wonder of something for what it is. He is way ahead of me on this. I know people talk about seeing the world through a child's eyes, and that is definitely part of it. But I suspect that there is also a part of it that is Manny's unique personality and approach to the world and I am excited to foster it and see it unfold. I just hope as he is soaking up all the beauty in the world that he stops picking up crap on the ground, handing it to me, and then shoving his fingers back in his mouth.