Note to readers:

Upon several requests I am submitting a previously published story that I wrote several years ago for the Daily News Zoo Column. Happy Mother’s Day!

I worked with many species through my years all of which I enjoyed tremendously, but none is more interesting than or as cherished as the beautiful people who come through our gates each day. Thousands of those visitors are mothers. You do not have to be a scientist to witness the expressions and behaviors of “the mom.”

She is the one whose eyes sparkle when her toddler knows the names of the animals and that a cow says, “Moo.” Those same eyes may sting with happy tears as her teenager gets her prom picture taken in the park gazebo. The character in her face may be laugh lines or wrinkles. It really doesn’t matter as both have been earned. She is as quick to protect as a bear with cubs, but gentle enough when it matters.

She may be stressed during her work day and feels a relief in early evening watching her children feed the donkeys in Grandpa’s Petting Zoo and she gives in for just one more quarter and just 10 more minutes.

She is the one who wipes the sweat from her brow with a zoo map rather than disturb the sleeping infant in her arms. She licks the ice cream from her non-obliging toddler before it has a chance to hit the ground. She may be very young or very old. Her ponytail may be only a bit longer than her little girl’s locks, but the love for that child is overwhelming. She may walk with a cane knowing and trusting her grown children at her sides making sure she is safe as she has done for them 40 years earlier.

Perhaps she has lost a child. Something nobody should have to endure. She may be a foster mother, a Kinship friend, or an auntie who took on the responsibilities to help family.

They are extraordinary. They are moms.

Happy Mother’s Day to you all! God Bless!

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