There's nothing I love more than the opportunity to take one of my seven grandchildren on a "day with grandma to the farm."
Today was Jackson's turn. He is three and a bundle of energy and curiosity.
My mission was photos at a farm near Liebenthal and chats with a wheat breeder and a beef researcher. Since the trip took us close to Hays, home of the Sternberg Museum (or as Jackson calls it, the "dinosaur zee-um"), I decided a side trip to the museum he has inquired about almost daily since a spring break visit in March, would be a good idea.
There is both delight and terror inside the Sternberg for small children. If you haven't been there, put it on your "must do" list.
To my surprise, Jackson remembered not just the T-Rex that "wakes up" and roars, but other details.
As we entered the exhibit area, he immediately ran to the "fish within a fish" fossil, one of the Sternberg's most famous exhibits, and said in a nearly carbon-copy voice of the video:
"One of the largest fossils ever discovered intact." (he said "in fact", but hey, what a memory!)
Then he ran around the corner and pointed: "Look, Grandma, the Mosasaur is still here!" And of course, it was. But what an impression it must have made for him to recognize it instantly.
He was hesitant about going up the ramp to the third floor because that's where the roaring "sharp-tooth" lives and where teradactyls (or "flying dactyls") soar and screech overhead. Three times we got to the top of the ramp and three times, he said "Go back down Grandma."
But, eventually, it had to be done. So we ventured on. And once we made it one time past the scary T-Rex, he discovered the "baby dinosaur" that looks like Little Foot, who chews on grass in the shadow of the scary sharp-tooth.
That proved to be his favorite. We stopped again and again so he could just sit and watch, apparently certain that the "baby" was really chewing on the grass. He never seemed bothered that it chewed the same bite endlessly. But he did seem a little worried that he could look up through the leaves and see the monster, scary, T-Rex.
For a little relief between attempts to brave the path through the dinosaurs, he liked to run down to the lobby between the second and third floors where an aquarium holds several fish and a small alligator. Or at least a label that says "American Alligator." All I could spot was what might have been a tail. Jackson was SURE there was an alligator was in the tank and that given enough time, he would see it eat a fish.
For me, it was a great day, building memories with a wonderful little boy.
None of us knows how many days we have left that we could spend together. I am so grateful to be able to grab one of them, once in a while, and just hang onto it.