Way back in November Lucy earned an "overnighter" at the zoo of all places.
You see, kids who stick with the "zoology club" the whole semester get the option of that little gem of a bonus.
Some of my other kids have done it, others haven't. It's pretty tough to earn, lots of extra work and meetings during lunch at the school once a week. So when Lucy told me she wanted to do it I told her that was great.
And I meant it.
But worry started seeping in when I thought about being a chaperone and the reality of what a dark night at the zoo might mean to the both of us.
Now, don't get me wrong, I love chaperoning field trips. It's such a great way to get one-on-one time with kids and to be able to observe them in their school/peer environment.
But this one wasn't on the top of my list. I LOVE camping, but I'm not a huge fan of doing it with crowds of people I don't know very well.
And I knew this wasn't an ideal field trip for Lucy. She cannot see at night. She doesn't do well staying up late. Too many variables.
Maybe it would make her so sad to realize she can't maneuver as well as the other kids...in the light or the dark. Maybe she would be left out. Maybe she would have a tantrum in the middle of everything and have her peers look at her like they do sometimes.
Maybe deep down I was even more worried about my mama's heart and whether I could handle this.
But what do you do when your daughter is willing to work hard and wants to set a goal to do something out of her comfort zone?
You go right along with her.
So I did...sort of guiltily wondering/hoping she may just want to opt out half way through the challenging extra work.
I know, I'm horrible.
But that Lucy girl stuck with it all the way through. She worked so hard and she learned so much and through doing so, she lit up with more knowledge and grit.
Here is her final project for the zoology club:
So I geared myself up for what was coming and put on a happy, smiley face to match hers.
At least that's what I told myself.
We went out to dinner together first, just me and her.
We met up with her friends at the zoo entrance.
We saw the zoo lights which was an added bonus of the night.
Lucy couldn't see a thing and was tired, but she was still full of wonder.
We headed to our gigantic tents and saw more animals.
Low and behold the next morning those lions there gave her a little show.
Despite these glowing pictures, this was as dark a night for me as it was for Lucy, but my darkness was in my heart.
It was black by the time I got home.
And there is still darkness lingering there to this day because of what I realized and learned that night about my girl and the future darkness that's in store for her.
I won't go into detail because it is not something I need to remember...it has been etched in my heart where unfortunately it can't get lost.
I wonder if every mother has that darkness etched into her soul from time to time. Whether it is with a child with special needs or a myriad of so many other variables.
Sometimes that elastic binding a mother/daughter heart-pair together is too much.
So much worry.
And that she never felt any of my darkness seep into her own halo of light.
And oh, how I love her.
So proud of her grit to push and learn and DO despite some things that should hold her back. So grateful for her example to me as her mother.