For me, the most rewarding part of our first family trip to Busch Gardens was watching Big B and little b make connections with the animals there. In celebration of World Turtle Day, the park welcomed children to feed and pet a giant tortoise.
There were many other special connections, especially between Big B and the tigers--but my camera was long tucked away by then, and there will be plenty more tiger fun in the weeks to come. But for me, the most powerful moment of animal spirit came at the gorilla exhibit, when we happened upon a mama gorilla nursing her baby. By no means a newborn, this little b sized toddler was almost as big as his beautiful mama. As the babe rolled around playfully with a full tummy, little b made his way to the glass to get a closer look at the pair. He was instantly drawn to them, as he is still a nursling himself.
Coincidentally, Little b and I have recently begun the "big boy" conversations. I think we both know our moons of nursing are coming to an end relatively soon, and it is a bittersweet chapter to close. As if by magic, the mama gorilla just knew. She turned around to face little b, only a thick layer of glass between them, and looked right in his eyes...and smiled.
In one moment, my decision to nurse my babies until we are mutually ready to end the relationship was reaffirmed by this majestic mother. I felt right and true and innately wise for knowing what my babies need: to be held, to be loved, and to roll over with full bellies and play the day away.