Last night was what I considered a “safe” outing. My family and I went to Zoo Lights at the Phoenix Zoo; if you never been, it is an incredible display of lights that surround the zoo during the holidays. My mom wanted to take her little nieces and nephews for a fun family outing and my mom never disappoints. She was fiercely yet sweetly over prepared by bringing homemade hot chocolate (with a hydro flask of ice cubes, just in case it was too hot for the children), churros (not homemade), and glow sticks for everyone – much to the dismay of a man trying to sell them at a kiosk nearby.
As we walked around, I took notice of my little 2-year cousin amazing feet coordination of walking while dancing due to his excitement of being out. He has the curliest hair I ever saw on a little boy! I enjoyed watching my teenage cousin and his older sister bonding over the last time they came with my mom and their awe of the enormous lego display of the animals. We all had a good laugh at my cousin’s husband’s sense of humor; we just walked into the park when he spotted a venue selling beer, “This is where I stop! Come get me when you’re done”! We all expressed our concern that one of my cousins had a wisdom tooth pulled earlier that day, but later posted, “a pulled wisdom tooth didn’t stop me, lol”! I observed in amusing seeing another one of my little cousins enjoying his churro. We then all took a break and enjoyed my mom’s hot chocolate and chatted some more, while all nine children talked about whatever kids talk about and ran around and explored whatever caught their eye. I was impressed by much care the older had upon the younger children; when I was watching over one of the little ones, one one of older kids walked over to us and stated with confidence, “I can stay with him”. So, I walked back to my seat and still kept on eye on them…And yes, she proved to me that I obviously had nothing to worry about. My favorite observation, seeing how happy my mom was with her gift of a night of priceless memories. After we were done taking a break, we took a family photo, all 18 of us!
I consider this a “safe” outing because it was a rare outing where not one person stared or whispered while looking at my direction: I blended in with everyone else. There was too much to see already, there was too much excitement, and there were too many distractions. It was a night that I could just lay my anxiety down, just enjoy the moments, and just be myself without having to worry about being myself. Last night, I was just another person at the zoo, I was no different. Last night, I was invisible – in a good, average height way.