A cool gray mist enveloped us as we stepped into the little red boats that wind through the trees and dinosaurs. The zoo’s exhibit, normally crowded with lines of hot, sweaty patrons, was empty. The early morning downpour washed away the late September summer and ushered in the first taste of fall. “Nana,me, buckle,” Sophie noted as I clicked our seat belts securely.

Sophie’s big, brown eyes soaked in the sharp claws, the long teeth. ” Rrrrrr, ” she growled at the menacing looking creature. The mist, the Asian music, the excitement of my tiny companion, all blended together to transport me far away from home on an adventurous expedition.

As we bumped along the narrow canal, surprised by dinosaurs that sprayed water, gibbons swinging on vines, bridges and sprays of water, I held Sophie’s hand. Just last night, I’d been fussing with numbers, trying to budget my retirement money, calculating how much money we needed for groceries, gas, utilities, etc. and worrying that tutoring would sufficiently supplement my income. In that moment when her little fingers entwined my own, I knew that I’d budget every penny,never buy a new outfit, do whatever it took to stay right where I was….living moment by moment and seeing the world anew, through the eyes of  21 month old.