I don't remember a lot about stuff we did or didn't do as kids. My parents split when I was 9 and I think it hit me so hard that I've blocked out a lot of my youth. That and the amount of booze I drank and pot smoked back in the day may have impaired my memory. We had traditions, don't get me wrong. Like every Christmas Eve was spent at my maternal grandparents home. Period, end of story. St. Nick visited on St. Nick's day (December 6th) and left an orange, an apple, some walnuts and some chocolates in our stocking. Every year. I do remember attending Christmas mass several times, too. But that's really about it when it comes to traditions around the holidays (or in general, really).
I think it's because of this that I want to have traditions for Lovie. I want her to look back on her youth with very fond memories. I want her to talk to her children one day about the things she once did with her Mama and Daddy.
I have very little from my youth- very few pictures, no mementos (no report cards, class pictures, little drawings, etc). My mom can't remember how old I was when I (fill in the blank). I was the baby of the family and, well, she didn't want to be married anymore long before they split when I was 9.
I need Lovie's life to be different.
I can't promise anything about the state of our marriage (though I do hope and pray it will remain in tact for always and ever amen), but I can promise her that I will do what I can, when I can to be her Mama (by that, I mean to really involve myself as Mamabear) and to remember. And the only way I can assure that I remember is by taking pictures and writing it down. Must write it down (or blog- same difference in 2011, right?)
So that's why we headed out to the Zoo Saturday night. Stupidly.
We layered our clothes, packed plenty of snacks, loaded the car, drove for 45 minutes, waited in line to enter the parking lot (still in our warm car, still listening to "Santa's Music") for 20 additional minutes, paid $9 to park, found a parking spot, unloaded out of the car, paid $27 to enter the zoo, walked for two hours in the dark smelling.. the zoo... in certain areas. We saw some lights. Some lit trees even turned on and off to the sound of Christmas music. We saw bits of a laser show. Our ankles were rammed by strollers. People bumped into us. We saw some duckies. Lovie cried when they came close and squawked at her. We saw some chicken. Lovie cried when they came and squawked at her. We saw a huge snowman. We saw a lama and a couple cows.
And we saw a reindeer. Which was the coolest thing about the evening.
What wasn't cool was that there was like two coffee stands in the whole friggin zoo... there was a ton of dark, kinda scary gaps between the lighted areas... there wasn't enough animals (it IS the zoo!) to see and Lovie wanted "more animals! animals!!"... the penguin house was ridiculously packed with people... it took us 20 minutes to move our car ONE INCH after getting in our car to leave...
Had we chosen to go to the FREE lights display at the zoo closer to us (how stupid are we? VERY apparently), I wouldn't have been so disappointed. But the fact that this place was SO hyped up and we had to pay near $40 to get in for something we could've done while driving around in our warm car for the price of gas, really kind of pissed me off.
The zoo lights will NOT be a tradition in our family... but we were together and we can say we've been there, done that, and pray that Lovie not ever ask us to do it in the future.