Trust. It seems inbred in the hearts and minds of little children whenever together with animals. There is an unspoken bond of trust between them, triggered by instinct. I take great delight in observing it, finding it nearly palpable. Love and laughter, sharing, caring and trust.
Back in May of this year, my only grandson celebrated his first birthday during an outdoor party complete with a petting zoo. His great-grandfather was able to join the celebration, traveling all the way from Arizona to make it extra special. In an earlier post I wrote of the anticipation of such entitled, “Dads With Little Lambs.” How lucky we were to have it land on a glorious spring day! Blue skies matched the color of gemstones while a breeze gently puffed cool air through new born leaves dangling from ancient limbs of oak trees.
There was no ‘white picket fence’ surrounding baby animals that day. Instead, children were allowed to chase chickens freely. Chubby fingers touched new textures, repeating names of four-legged friends they had only met before in picture books or pieced together in chunky puzzle boards of primary colors. Each child took turns petting spotted calves groaning, “M.O.O.” before skinny legs dressed in ruffles or blue jeans swung over saddles to take their very first pony rides.
Afterwards, the guest of honor was stripped naked, except for a diaper that seemed to match his new friend of black and white spots. My grandson soon sat grinning on a huge sheet of plastic red. It rippled and crinkled whenever he moved. He loved the feel of it, I could tell! Within seconds, a farm decorated Smash Cake , complete with miniature bright red barn appeared before his two enormous blue-watered eyes. Murmurs traveled among those who sat on benches of wood behind picnic tables of green. What would the birthday boy do? Stick his finger to taste a treat of brown bunny frosting? Or snatch and seize the biggest field of golden-colored corn he’d ever seen?
In the end, the big-little guy couldn’t contain himself. He dove right in. Head-first! Exactly what his new animal friends had whispered silently to him minutes before. “Go for it,” they had said, as only animal friends can do. And so he did.