When I told my friend Faigy earlier this morning about our plans to go to the petting zoo, she had tried to talk me out if it. “You’re still a kimpeturin!” she said. “The most important thing you can give your kids right now is a functional mother. You are in no shape to take them on an outing. Rest up, and tell them you’ll make it up to them on Chol Hamoed.”
As commonsensical as that sounded, when my kids showed me the ad for the petting zoo, there was really no arguing with a tribe of children who were bored stiff after two weeks of summer vacation, during which their most exciting excursion had been to the grocery store with my husband. If you are the mother of many children of all ages, you will know that everyone, including teenagers, agreeing to go to the same place is nothing short of miraculous. My feeble protest—“But I don’t know how to get there”—was waved off by my oldest son. “Ma,” he said with all the confidence only a 15-year-old can have, “we have GPS. Don’t worry.” (If there are two words in the English language that trigger all the neurons in the maternal brain to simultaneously fire warning signals, those are the ones.)
So after packing sandwiches, drinks, hard-boiled eggs, carrot sticks and a fair amount of unhealthful nosh, we turn on the GPS and we’re on our way. The first 45 minutes of driving bring us to a spot I realize I know how to get to in ten minutes on my own, but to my astonishment, my 15-year-old is right. After an hour and a half of listening to Mark—the disembodied GPS voice my son selects—we actually pull up at the petting zoo.