A few years ago, the boys were out of school, yet again. I can’t remember if it was a teacher’s workday or a holiday, that when I was younger, never got out of school for. Anyway, we decided to take our boys to the zoo. They were ecstatic! The temperature was just right and it was not wall to wall people there, as it normally has been. We could have all done cartwheels or ran side to side the entire time. That’s how much space there was between us and the next person, and it showed us that there weren’t many in attendance. All of my sons named the animals they wanted to see. Callie was specific with only four: giraffes, elephants, zebras and penguins. We ran across the elephants and zebras early. His eyes lit up as if it was the first time but waved as if he was saying hi to an old friend. We saw other amazing animals too – the owl & the eagle, who had their backs turned to us & obviously did not want their picture taken. . . .the white tiger who slept & was not bothered at all by my two youngest boys yelling for him to wake up. . . .the hippo who gazed at us as if we were invading his space . . . .the chattering monkeys who appeared to be putting on a show. . . .the turtles who looked like walking oversized ottomans – they were huge!. . . .crocodiles who I always think look hungry. . . .and the snakes & the spiders that we quickly said hello and bye to. All brought smiles to my other sons. However for Callie, he didn’t seem impressed. Bored actually and not because he didn’t know these animals by name. But he had a goal in mind and nothing else mattered. Patience was not a virtue he had acquired but that day he was calm & focused. I think he knew eventually his wish would come true and so would mine. Finally, we saw the giraffes. Callie just stood there & stared, not saying a word. To me, his face said it all. But when he saw the penguins, he couldn’t contain his excitement. He shouted “Mom! Penguins!” These black and white creatures who marched to their own beat thrilled my son to no end. His whole being beamed as bright as the sun. He had been taught about something fascinating, and now what he saw shook hands with what he had learned. What he wanted was before him, and in that moment, determination was defined and defeat was not an option. His eyes were set, his mind was made and his heart was pumped – I knew nothing could stop him. . .then and now.