We took Teghan to the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary yesterday. I hadn’t been there in many years, but it was a frequent stop during the first eight years of my life (when I lived down the street from it). It was a beautiful afternoon, and we had the park to ourselves. We bought a bucket of corn for fifty cents to feed the birds- which I was pretty sure Teghan would eat herself.
I was wrong. She was thrilled to throw corn at the birds and watch them scramble for it. It was wonderful. Watching my little girl skip around grabbing handfuls of corn and happily tossing it into the water was an unexpected surprise. It was typical childhood behavior- rare and fantastic.
I know it’s more for me than for her. She finds happiness in all sorts of things that were never a part of my childhood. I suspect the most exciting part of the day’s trip for her were the minutes she was allowed to run without restriction, but I am sure feeding the birds was a close second. She was pretty disappointed in all the other birds, though. She wouldn’t even look at the bald eagle.
The truth is, we are in love with typical. It’s what we know; what we still somehow expect- and we never get it. I don’t know why it matters, but it does. It’s not as if she isn’t having just as many pleasant childhood experiences. It’s not as if the relatable ones are the only ones that count. It’s just that we so seldom see glimpses of familiar childhood, we obsess over it when we do see it.
Dave’s parents were with us, and afterwards they wanted to stop by the pizza place across from my old high school. I worked there when I was fifteen, and it felt pretty much the same. It was very strange to use the bathroom there. It’s an individual bathroom where you can lock yourself in and have the place all to yourself. I hadn’t been in there since 1991, but I spent a lot of time there in those days (hiding out from responsibility). I felt as if I had been transported back in time.
We ordered a pizza, and Teghan was mostly well-behaved. There were occasional bouts of spitting her drink out on the table, but overall it was a success. The restaurant was empty, and we were in a corner where no one could have seen us anyway.
Just a typical day of dragging my child down memory lane…. She may not have realized it, but I sure did. It exceeded my expectations- and I think she had a great time, too.