Since things have a way of keep on keeping on, I’ll share with you some good times we had at the zoo a few months back.
You guys, Texas is hot. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but it’s really hot. It’s the kind of hot that makes me never want to leave the house. But one weekend, the husband & I heard it’d be a bit cooler that normal (a tiny bit less than “sweltering”) and left the house early to take Myla to the Austin Zoo. I like the Austin Zoo because it’s a rescue center, and it’s so small that you can get pretty close and personal with the animals there.
Ages ago, I suggested to Myla that we bring our sketchbooks on a zoo trip. We did, and we had a great time. She remembered that this time, and asked me could we please please bring our sketchbooks again? And, since I really really love when she asks me for easy things, I said yes, of course we could.
We made a bit of a game of sitting and stopping and drawing the animals. The giant tortoise was out & about, most likely wondering if we had any more lettuce, but also just as likely looking at us thinking, “what are they DOING?”
We sat and drew a bear cub rolling around with some chickens and a duck. And although she was a little annoyed that they wouldn’t hold still (“Hey duck! Stop moving around!”), she used her imagination to draw them for the most part, anyway…
The tiger was out, totally passing up her pile of meat to come over and check us out…and then sauntered over to a shady area for a nap.
Myla drew the “three little bears,” as we watched the bear cubs getting fed, and playing hide and seek for their veggies. Myla continued to “collect” animals in her sketchbook. “OH! a parrot! I haven’t gotten a parrot yet!”
Most times, collecting the animal wasn’t as important as using it to create something else. When we found the serval, she gave it spikes and a dragon tail…because: REALITY.
It didn’t really matter WHAT the drawings looked like. In fact, everything I drew ended up as just a little strip of a tiger stripe, or a rough doodle of the turtle’s eye. What I really enjoyed was watching HER excitement, and seeing things through her eyes. “WOW, mom! That pig is so big and cool and guhSKUSTING!”
And we also took time to put the sketchbooks down a bit and look around at all the beautiful things, and enjoy just being together.
But hey–you’ve got to find smiles in the little things! Those little things are truly what leave the biggest memories.
And it doesn’t have to be the zoo–It can be a walk down the street, kicking rocks and catching grasshoppers. It can be the crunch of leaves with each step on a walk through the forest. It can be in your backyard, drawing daisies, or splashing paint on paper.
You can try it right now! You can try it when the kids get home from school. You can try it alone, or with a friend.
Enjoy the little things, and be glad that they’re there…
I have a soft spot for Alaskan roller derby. Not long ago, I painted a helmet for a derby girl on the Rage City all-star team out of Anchorage, Alaska. (Have you seen my post about customizing derby helmets?) Since I used to play derby (on a much smaller team) in Alaska, I was super excited to hear that Rage City is raising money to travel to Texas to play in the heart of derby’s rebirth! And since we currently reside in Central Texas, I’m excited to see that happen.
Roller derby teams are almost always non-profit businesses, which means they have to raise all their money to play, to travel, to rent the practice space, to hold general insurance, and to hold bouts ALL by themselves, by hitting the pavement and asking for help. They have car washes, bake sales, make their own merch, all in their spare time, just to keep their team alive. What people get from derby is SO much more valuable. It’s strength from a quiet, shy girl who never really had a voice. It’s power from a bigger girl who always felt “in the way.” It’s determination from a geeky girl who never played a sport. These ladies work and train HARD, all while living everyday lives, working everyday jobs, being moms, wives, and students. Even if a team gets beat in a bout, there’s still so much love & respect for each other for actually having the nerve to get out and DO it that it doesn’t matter a whole lot. They know the work and dedication that goes into it. And there’s a fun bond in derby because there’s room for everyone–all shapes, all sizes, all ages, all walks of life.
SOOoooo if you’d like to help Rage City make their way to Texas, or support a fun, exciting sport at the same time, please go over to their GoFundMe page and help some sisters out!