She lay on her back and let the little one crawl all over her as the older sister played with toys nearby.
She held her mommy fingers high above her baby's body and moved them down little by little until her daughter could reach them and they continued this game for several minutes.
When her little one got too close to her sister's toys, momma quietly and gently re-directed the scampering 4-month-old so that her sister could be left in peace. But then the sister decided that climbing to the tippy top of a nearby tree would be much better entertainment . . . for an adolescent gorilla.
We stood on the other side of the glass so incredibly close to the intimate exchange taking place between a mother and her daughters that I almost felt like I was intruding. A zoo volunteer stood near us with a clip board, taking tedious notes on the pair and marvelling in the fact that momma and baby were allowing us visual access to their daily routine, they usually hang out in the lush grasses on a sunny day, far out of sight from the humans . . .
I would too, momma. I would too.
My daughter stood there, holding her baby, unable to pry herself away from the sight. I stood above her, one hand cautiously holding onto her shoulder as the bigger kids pushed and noisily flocked to the glass as their chaperone yelled, "Shhhhhh . . . you must be quiet in here!"
When they cleared out, we were again at that peaceful place. Just us and the gorilla girls. Mothers and daughters. Sisters. Hands, feet, mouths, eyes, noses . . . so similar.
A woman stepped up next to me, she could have been my grandmother.
"It's just so amazing," I said, "they're just like us."
She looked at me and smiled one of those wise woman smiles that are not often present in my life.
"Rather," she said, "we are just like them."
Mother + Daughter
Mother + Daughter