Growing up, my family had a lot of traditions around the holidays.
The night before Thanksgiving, my siblings and I would go over to Grandma and Grandpa's to help prepare the meal for the whole family. We would chop and stir, and crash on the couches, only to wake up a few hours later to Grandma puttering around in the kitchen starting the turkey and their percolator coffee maker.
Thanksgiving night, we would spend the night with an Aunt and Uncle, and stay up as late as we could with our cousins playing Monopoly, and Nintendo, and watching Christmas movies. Then, set up the Christmas trees the next morning, and maybe even an early trip to see Santa Claus.
Being so far away from family this time of year never gets easier. And there are few things in our lives with Max that we can make occur time and time again with certainty. His is not a childhood of certainty, like mine was. But, when we can, we like to make traditions happen.
He is working on a printout for school on "Holiday Traditions". I've had to think a lot about what we do every year that may seem like a tradition for him. Which takes us to the zoo on Thanksgiving.
We've done a lot of things on Thanksgiving since Max was born. Drove to Virginia from Colorado, drove to Oklahoma from Colorado, spent it in the PICU at Children's Hospital, and spent it friends, and spent it alone. But, there is one thing we've done more than just once on Thanksgiving...we've gone to the zoo.
Our day started out a little rocky, not knowing how Max was going to tolerate the freezing cold temperature, or how his fussiness was going to affect us getting out. We finally decided to just go for it, and got ourselves bundled up and ready for a romp with the animals.
As it turned out, the weather was very pleasant, around 35 degrees. But that blessed Colorado sunshine was blazing, so we got to walk around with just light jackets on. Max is always much more warm than we are, so he just wore a fleece jacket and some warm socks, and was of course, too warm!
The crowds were very light, and we took advantage of it by taking Max into all of the buildings, which we never do when it's crowded. And as an added bonus, it seems all of the animals were excited to see Max had made it to see them on Thanksgiving. We've never seen them so alert.
Here he is before we went in...
Roooaaar...Hi Max! Happy Thanksgiving!
Hey Max, do you think you could talk them into letting me out to play?
This peacock decided he needed to come up on Max and see why he was crying...all while giving off his own wild cry.
A fish as big as Max!
Max...did you smuggle in any pumpkin pie for me?
Even the rhino came out to say hi to Max!
But this was the best! Max was done...and ready to go back to his van. So, as Max does lately, he started screaming and crying instead of using any of his words or signs to help us know what he's wanting. He was having himself a full on fit when this gal stopped eating and started walking our way.
Is he okay? ... I heard him crying...
Yes, he's fine...Happy Thanksgiving Max!
I like our new tradition!