I love driving through Temecula early enough in the morning to see all the hot air balloons rising over the vineyards.
The kids and I headed down to the San Diego Wild Animal Park on Saturday (I guess they call it the “San Diego Zoo Safari Park” now). We hadn’t been there in ages.
During the ten or so years from the time when my niece was a toddler until Luke was a toddler, the Wild Animal Park was one of my very favoritest places to spend a day. There’s miles of stroller-friendly trails, gorgeous scenery, exotic animals, consistently beautiful climate — this place is perfect for families with young children. I loved everything about it.
We stopped going for the same reason we stopped doing nearly everything during my marriage that involved me and the kids leaving the house: Steve didn’t like it and he went to a lot of passive-aggressive effort to suck the fun out of it for the rest of us. The last time I went was on a school field trip with Elizabeth’s third grade class.
It’s a different experience going with a ten-year-old and a thirteen-year-old than it is going with small children. I let Luke and Elizabeth lead the way for the most part, and they headed in directions that we’d usually skipped when they were younger.
Elizabeth posed on five different carousel animals for photos, while Luke went on with great enthusiasm about the mechanics of the crankshaft that made the animals go up and down. The two of them really could not be more different, but they both had a great time and made a familiar hangout into a fresh new experience for me. I love watching them grow and unfold and come out of their shells.
…So to speak.