Earlier this week I took my daughter on her first trip to the zoo. I couldn't wait to witness the moment she recognized the living, breathing versions of the animals she names enthusiastically as we turn the pages of her favorite books.
We started at the Great Ape House, only to find it hadn't opened for the day. We proceeded to the lions, who escaped out of view just as we approached. At a stop to see the Red Panda, we heard others who claimed to see him "way up in the corner," but I wasn't able to locate him, let alone explain to the babe precisely where to look. After nearly an hour in the hot morning sun, I began to question my judgment in choosing to visit the zoo on a day in which seemingly every other mammal knew enough to stay indoors. But as we turned the corner to the Grey Wolf habitat, we had success: not one, but TWO(!) wolves were prowling about. Eagerly, I pointed to the glass and asked my daughter, "What is that?" Smiling broadly and waving her arms, she exclaimed, "Puppy!"
I almost corrected her before it occurred to me that while I was focused on what was wrong - seeing only empty cages and closed buildings, she was taking in her new surroundings without judgment - and finding joy all along the way.
Can you let go of expectations and choose to see joy in your surroundings?