My city zoo has a great big water park that attracts mobs of families on hot summer days. We were there yesterday, #6, #7, #8 and I, hitting the water early in the day before the crowds descended.
#7 and #8 wasted no time peeling off their clothes to reveal their bathing suits and they were off, running, darting, screaming and playing among the sprinklers and showers. #6 decided that he didn’t want to join in. He feels he’s too old for such activities. He sat on a bench in the shade happily involved in his own thoughts. He didn’t complain because he knew that the nature trail and the grizzly bears were next on our list once his siblings were finished. There was also the promise of a cinnamon-sugar beaver tail, his favourite deep-fried pastry snack.
All around us were toddlers shuffling in swim diapers with parents scurrying to keep up with them. Slightly older children enjoyed a little more freedom but mom and dad were never too far behind. Kids as old as #7 and #8 moved about freely, deftly avoiding little tots who could barely walk. There was no one the age of #6 playing in the water.
It’s a rite of passage for my kids when they stop running around at the water park. I always hate when it happens, but I know it’s inevitable. He’s had a few good years in this part of the zoo but his interests have matured somewhat.
Later this week, I’m taking the three of them on a nature hike and picnic to our favourite creek. It’s here that #6 has always enjoyed building dams, bridges and wading in the water. I wonder if this time will be different.