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Today, Abby and I went to the zoo.  It’s a local zoo, nothing nearly as impressive as the Metro Toronto Zoo that I went to as a child, but it is nearby, has a ton of fun animals, and most of the enclosures back right up to the paths so the animals often are within feet of you.

The last time that Abby went to this zoo she was only a few months old.  The animals didn’t even register in her radar, and the trip was really more for Erin and me (we love animals and it got us out of the house).  Ever since that trip, I have been planning to take Abby back; I knew that I would have the whole next summer to myself with her, and zoo trips seemed like a great way to spend some mornings together.

It was better than I could have imagined.  Abby immediately pointed out every animal that we could see from the first step through the doors: zebras, wild pigs, mountain lions, alpacas, lemurs (two different kinds), ostriches, and a whole bunch of critters that I can’t even remember.  She giggled at the monkeys and reached out to touch the deer.  She and I went to the show and Abby got to pet a snake, a tortoise, and a baby fox.

I know that Abby won’t remember any of this.  I get that.  But somehow I feel like today was one of the first “building block” moments that I have had with my daughter this summer.  I took her someplace totally different from her normal routine.  She interacted with exotic animals.  She got excited about something that gets me excited.  We bonded.  I’ll tell her all about it when she’s older, probably enough times that she will grow quickly annoyed with me any time that I mention it and will manufacture it into a memory that she can’t help but think is real.

Now we are watching the footage of the last ever shuttle launch.  I think that I’ll be telling her about that one too, seeing as I have grown up loving the space program.  Another building block.  Another moment.  Another event that I will file away in memory and bring up when we sit and reminisce about the days before school and boyfriends and real life.

I’m a lucky man.