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As an adult, I prefer to reside in the city over the country. But I must admit some of my best childhood memories come from growing up in the country or visiting my grandparent's farm! I still have memories of my uncles going hunting and watching my grandparents clean the fresh kill then prepare it for dinner throughout the week. I miss driving my dirt bike on dirt roads, mixing dirt and water to make mud pies, and letting them dry out in the sun.
Most children had dogs and cats for pets, but we had horses, pigs, dogs, rabbits, geese, chickens, etc. We were used to being around animals all of the time. In the country our nearest neighbors were cows! I remember waking up to the "moos" in the morning; the Rooster’s call a daily alarm clock.
Although in the country we had plenty of room to ride bikes and go-carts and make 'mud pies,' I wasn't a fan of raising my son in that type of environment. I had five siblings to keep me company. He, on the other hand, is the only child and I imagine it would be quite boring for him. I believe it would be boring for my hubby and I as well. So, we decided to raise him in the suburbs with neighborhoods and civilization and where fish, dogs and cats are the norm for pets. My hubby was born and raised in this small town where “everybody knows your name” and if you were born here than most likely you will buy a home here and begin a family. We decided to follow the pattern as well.
My son began school and his Kindergarten class had their first field trip. It was to a petting zoo where he was exposed to all sorts of animals. He had such a good time that he came home and told us about each animal that he fed one by one. Just imagine an excited five-year-old recalling all of the animals that they just saw, petted, and fed. Then they explain how they petted them, what they fed them, and any comments that their friends made… it took him at least 45 minutes to explain this BEFORE he began doing his homework… ugh! My son talked about this field trip for ONE WHOLE WEEK! A week filled with the same descriptions of animals that we heard about on the first day.
A week after the Petting Zoo field trip, my little family of three were driving home when we spotted a man riding a horse on the streets of our small town. My hubby continued to drive as he was used to occasionally seeing someone horseback riding and thought nothing of it. I grew up around all types of animals and thought nothing out of the norm as well. I glanced up in the rearview mirror and watched my son’s eyes follow the man on the horse and realized that this was a new experience for him. I watched his confused expression in the mirror and knew a question would be following.
His curious eyes met mine in the mirror. "Mom, why isn't that horse living at the petting zoo? Why does that man have him here? Why is he riding in the middle of the road?"
My hubby decided that he would answer the question. "Well, sometimes people have different pets besides dogs and cats. They can have horses, pigs, snakes, etc." I watched as my son processed the information that his dad just told him.
He looked back at us with excitement and said, "Well, I would like a giraffe for my birthday!"
What could we say? We were speechless...