My brother is three and a half years older than me, an age difference which constantly worked against me in my opinion. My ‘Graduations’ always seemed, to me at least, to be less important than my brother’s. When I was finally going into first grade he was moving into middle school and for my parents that was a big deal. It happened again when I moved into middle school, but now my brother was going into high school. Eighth grade rolls around and my brother is going to graduate.

For a time it seemed to be a never ending cycle but during my freshman year at high school I realize that was not the case. My brother had gone into the workforce directly so my graduation would be overshadowed by nothing, it would be my weekend and undoubtedly my parents would do whatever I wanted to do. I dreamed up a bunch of different scenarios: Spending a weekend at the coast or going to Ashland, OR were my two favorites but never once did going to the zoo with a two year old cross my mind as my ideal graduation weekend. Not even on January 27, 2008 when a little girl by the name Kaylee was born three months premature. In fact it wasn’t until four months after this when I held daughter for the first time that I decided that that is exactly how I wanted to spend my weekend. As of today she is two years, two months, and two days and I cannot wait for June to roll around so I can take her to see the zoo.

When my parents first asked me what I wanted to do for the weekend I didn’t have to think before deciding that taking my daughter to the zoo would be the perfect weekend. It was an idea they were hesitant to accept at first, when I first suggested it she was just starting to walk. But the closer it came to my graduation and the older she grew the more she couldn’t wait to take her. This summer will be her very first visit and I can’t wait to show her all of my favorite animals just like my parents did when I was her age. We’ve been talking about it nonstop, practicing animal names, sounds and imitations and even picking out her clothes, even if it isn’t for another two months from now.

No, I never considered going to the zoo with a two year old as my ideal graduation weekend. But after I adopted my beautiful, smart, and wonderful daughter I can’t imagine spending it any other way. So I would love to thank all those girls and women out there who when they find themselves pregnant do not terminate it, even if they aren’t ready to become parents and give someone else to love the child they created. It is the greatest gift imaginable and I can’t imagine loving any child any more than I do my little Kaylee Sue.