In May of 2015, I helped organize a fundraising event for the neighborhood. We had auction items available that were pretty badass. There was a full suite for a Tiger’s game at Comerica Park, two Shinola watches, custom art, massages, a trip to Mexico and so much more.
During the live auction, Ryan found himself in a bidding war with a neighbor for the “Breakfast with the Giraffes” experience at the Detroit Zoo. This kind of bidding frenzy is way out of character for Ryan and I kept shooting dagger eyes his way in an attempt to get him to stop. Apparently, he couldn’t see the looks I was giving, because the other person backed down and Ryan was the victor.
A year and some change later, we scheduled the breakfast for the morning of Hudson’s third birthday. The boy’s were excited but none of us really knew what to expect. For some reason, I figured it would be our family and a few other groups.
I was wrong.
We were greeted at 8am sharp by our kind and energetic personal guide, Eileen. She drove us through the gates of the unopened zoo and around to see bears, gorillas and kangaroos. Most of the animals were out and active and responded to seeing us. It was incredible.
When it was time to eat, Eileen drove us to the giraffes. Part of the walkway had been gated off and a buffet style breakfast had been set up. This was when I realized the experience was for my family alone. There was only one table, set for 5 people. Holy cow! I could have shared this with a dozen other people and still thought it was awesome.
After our breakfast, we were introduced to the giraffe’s keeper, Ashley. We asked a million questions about the animals and how she became a keeper (Go Green!), about the new baby that was born two weeks ago and then. Then! THEN!!! We got to feed the giraffes!!!!!!!!! All of us. Even little buddy Benjamin.
By the time the feeding was done, the zoo was open, but our tour continued. Eileen took us to see a little bit of everything and were back to the car by 10:30. Ryan was able to make it back to the office before lunch, and the boys were able to use my good mood to their advantage when they asked for McDonald’s lunch and I actually said “yes.” A day full of rarities.
There were moments where I was so deeply overwhelmed with gratitude and appreciation for the privilege of this experience, I cried. A couple of times. No big deal.
What a beautiful way to celebrate Hudson turning three. Only problem is, he probably won’t remember just how special it was. I guess that’s what this blog is for.
With love from Detroit,