In only a couple of weeks, days really, my father will visit from Arizona. It will be the first chance that he’s had to meet four new great-grand-babies. Four! What will he say to faces smiling up at him so new and bright? How will he feel rocking babes to sleep at night?
There are periods I long for my father’s presence. Times when I wish he lived closer in order to pop in unexpectedly with my grand-girls. The oldest at three, might show him her latest trick learned at gymnastics class. Perhaps she’d stir invisible tea in a pink plastic cup or read books from her imagination? A younger toddler would reach for him with both arms, begging to be picked up while baby twins would giggle and smile. But, only for a while…..
My father will be here to celebrate his only great-grandson’s first birthday. My son and daughter-in-law are having a small, barn-themed children’s party with a petting zoo. Nothing big… a few baby animals. Pink piglets with yellow fluffy chicks behind a fence of white. Although, I do think there may be a woolly lamb that kids can actually touch with anxious little hands.
Recently, I told my father about his great-grandson’s birthday party while we chatted over the phone. “Petting Zoo?” he stumbled, never having heard the term before.
It’s the little things I miss about having my dad so near. It took me at least five minutes to explain the definition of a Petting Zoo. And, just when I thought he understood, jokes came jostling over the line. My dad has a very dry sense of humor. Oftentimes, only his grown children can begin to understand it!
Below is an example of the conversation that followed.
“Wait a minute,” Dad said. “A ‘Petting Zoo? I don’t get it. Will the kids be riding the lamb?”
“No, Dad,” None of the kids will be riding the lamb.
“Is there a small saddle, just in case?”
“I don’t think so,” I answered, chuckling.
Sigh. “Then, what does the lamb do?
“Nothing, Dad. It’s for children to pet,” I answered, firmly.
“Pet?” What good is that?”
“Kids love animals, Dad. They like to pet them.”
“They do?” he asked, as if he didn’t know.
“Yes, Dad. I’ve got to go.”
“Okay, Honey. Sure am looking forward to seeing you! Hey, don’t worry about the saddle. They’ve got them all over Phoenix. I’ll ask around and bring one that will fit that little lamb, just right.”
“Okay, Dad, you do that. Love you.”
“Love you too, Honey. See you soon!”
*As my oldest grand-daughter would say, “Silly Great-Grandpa!”