Monday, May 10, 2010

Maymont: A Perfectly Lovely Mother's Day

My family doesn't get into all these arbitrary holidays. Personally I feel like they are mostly all hyped up just to help the gift shop's bottom lines. I'm pretty sure that when the idea of Mother's Day was first introduced, it was meant to be a day set aside to show your Mom how much you love and respect her. Maybe do something nice like breakfast in bed, or a cute hand-made card. A sparkleing gold and diamond necklace or a 5-star meal without the kiddos was probably not on our forefather's minds.

So, generally for all these types of 'holidays' such as Mother's Day, Father's Day and Valentine's Day (yes, you heard me, Valentine's Day), we are pretty happy with a big hug and a card (hand made even better). This Mother's Day I decided I wanted to go on a nice family outing. Spring has been especially beautiful this year with leaves bursting bright green from their branches and flowers coming into bloom overnight. It seemed to me a trip to the beautiful Maymont Park in Richmond would be the perfect way to spend a warm and sunny afternoon. I was so right.

Maymont is an incredible place, even more so because it is mostly free (an occasional donation is strongly recommended). It is the one thing that I truly love about moving to Richmond from my beachy abode. The gardens are spectacular, the landscaping gorgeous, and the animal exhibits quite impressive. Its like a small zoo and botanical gardens all rolled into one. Add on to that the nature Center/Aquarium (which now does charge a small fee) and the old Manor House, and you have yourself a very full day of sightseeing. Not to mention walking. A circle of the grounds will easily take you on about a 2.5 mile hike over rolling hills and up and down stone stairways. Its quite a surprise for those that are unprepared for it!

We packed a picnic lunch and laid out our blanket in a quiet corner of the Japanese garden. The boys being boys, they prefered to find the highest rock nearby to sit on and eat their sandwiches, so I mostly had the blanket all to myself. Laying there, looking up at the sunlight through the unfurling leaves and the rustling of the bamboo groves behind me, it was like I was a whole world away from everything, not a few minutes walk from a bustling city.

Of course, the kids had a grand old time too, which makes any day a great one in my book. Highlight of the day was seeing a new bobcat that was in a once empty habitat. He was prowling around on tree branches, giving the kids quite a show. My OS and I noticed just how much the cat's face looked liek the bobcat on his first Cub rank badge. That was a nice little bonus!

Our stroll around one of my favorite local places, coupled with the FOUR hand drawn cards and pictures that my eldest gave me, made for a very lovely Mother's Day that I will not soon forget. This may, perhaps, become one of my favorite yearly traditions!

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