I mean this slighty tounge-in-cheek, but mostly in all earnestness. We decided to take advantage of the cooler day (only in the upper 90's today) and take the girls to the zoo this evening. We haven't been since early May when the temps and humidity were of a bareable degree. We arrived and in good form. Everyone had had a nap, no potty issues today and we were all in a great mood. Bekah, as usual, had to take at least one very small kitty with her - not a big deal since she carries it and doesn't ask eveyone else to.
First on the list was, of course, the elephants. They always love those. Then rhino's. Next it was off to the Oklahoma Trails exhibit of the zoo to see all the animals you find in Oklahoma. First bobcats, then cougar, white-tailed deer, wild turkey's, bird house, then their favorite - the bat house along with spiders and owls. Then rounding the bend come the black bears, aquariums and last, but not least, the alligator pit. This is when sadness and sorrow overcame our otherwise great excursion.
Bekah had been faithfully showing her kitty every animal we had seen so far. Whether it be a field mouse or black bear, or snake, the kitty saw it. I had just lifted her up to see into the alligator pit and bid her a fair warning not to drop her kitty as we could not get her back. The breath from the last word still on my lips, my eyes beheld a tiny little kitty plummet into the pit below. This was not good.
Immediately great big tears began to fall from her eyes. "Mommy you have to get her." "Bekah, I can't get down there and even if I could those are alligators! They could bite my arm off!" She wailed - and I mean wailed! She refused to leave the scene. "I can't leave her, she will be so sad. I know she's scared" All said through great gasps and tears. Of course, there were no zoo keepers to be found. We looked - and looked. She was inconsolable. She wanted to see no more animals.
We finally did see a zoo employee who we told - not so much to get the kitty back, but it would probably not be the best thing if one of the alligators should decide to make a snack of the poor stuffed animal. And just if there were any hope at all of recovering the poor animal the lady not so kindly pointed out that there was no way it would be recovered.
We did end up walking around to see other animals. Eventually she did stop crying, but she never stopped talking about it. She insisted that she could not leave her kitty as it was her job to take care of her. I did the only thing I could think of to do. I told her that Jesus would watch over her kitty and take care of her since she couldn't and that the zoo keeper would get her out. It seemed to give her some relief, but I could tell the guilt she felt was great. It was really breaking my heart. It sounds so silly to say that, but it's not over the stuffed animal, it was over my poor Bekah. Even when we left she said, "Mommy, I'm sorry I dropped my kitty. I was supposed to take care of her." I just told her it was just a terrible accident and that she didn't mean for it to happen.
After we put the girls in bed tonight I heard them talking over the monitor. Rachel told Bekah she was so sorry about her kitty, but they could pray for her. And so they did. It was the sweetest thing I have ever heard. Rachel said, "Jedus, take of Bekah's kitty, don't let those green alligators get her."
So, while there was tragedy at the Zoo. What I learned from this was that my girls are learning to trust God. That they veiw him as very real, and that He cares about whatever we care about. And that is not tragic in the least. The faith of a child -- how it can rock your world.