Last Christmas my parents gave us a premium membership to the Bronx Zoo. That meant our whole family could go to the zoo for free an unlimited number of times for an entire year. That membership also included parking and all the premium attractions (like the carousel and the monorail and the children’s zoo and a bunch of other stuff).
I was so excited. We are only an hour from the zoo. I envisioned all the trips we’d take as a family. For free.
So did Number 4. Almost weekly she would nag me about the zoo.
When are we going to the zoo? Can we go to the zoo this weekend? MOM! ARE WE EVER GOING TO USE THAT FREE PASS FROM GRAMMY AND PAPA AND GO TO THE ZOO???
Fast forward to September.
We had taken exactly, um, zero trips to the zoo. For nine months we had that membership and we hadn’t used it one single time. All of our weekends had been taken over by either swimming or basketball or baseball during the winter and spring.
During the summer it was even busier on the weekends. Much to Number 4’s (and everyone else’s chagrin) I hadn’t gotten my act together so we could go.
Until this past Wednesday. We had no school and the weather was going to be beautiful and my parents offered to come help since my husband was out of commission and having surgery the next day.
Everyone was excited.
We piled in the car and I plugged the parking lot my mom told me to meet her and my dad at into the GPS.
We got to the zoo without a problem about an hour later. There was quite a bit of traffic on Southern Boulevard, the road that runs along the front of the zoo entrance. And once we were completely trapped in it, my mom sent me a text.
Don’t go to the Southern Boulevard parking lot. A police officer told us it’s totally gridlocked up there.
I was already cemented in the gridlock.
Ten minutes passed.
Twenty minutes passed.
Thirty minutes passed.
The kids had been so good, but they were running out of gas. They started annoying the shit out of each other and in turn, me.
After forty minutes, I managed to get out of the mess we were in, but I had no idea where my parents were.
And now I had to pee. Really badly.
The kids were now beating the crap out of each other, there was no place in sight for me to pee, and I didn’t know where the hell I was going.
I plugged the place I thought my parents were into the GPS and it brought me to a road that was closed due to construction and nowhere near the zoo.
At this point I had to pee so bad I was holding my crotch with one hand and the steering wheel with the other.
I had managed to turn around and was back on Southern Boulevard going in the opposite direction but right in front of the zoo again when I couldn’t take it anymore.
I was going to pee in my pants.
Number 3 was crying because he thought we were lost forever, and everyone else was crying because we had been fifteen feet from the zoo grounds but trapped in the car for the past hour.
I had to do something quickly or I was going to wet my pants. Luckily I had a big plastic cup from a Dunkin Donuts ice coffee in my cup holder.
I double parked on the side of the road, pulled my pants down in the driver seat, slid the cup under my ass, and filled that mothereffer up.
There were people driving by staring but I didn’t give a shit because none of them were cops and the relief I felt seriously outweighed the level of embarrassment I might have felt.
When I was done, I put my ginormous cup of urine in the cup holder.
Now Number 5 was crying hysterically because there was 32 ounces of pee sitting in a cup in the front of the car and she was certain it was going to splash all over her in the back seat.
MOMMMMMMYYYYYYY! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH! GET IT OUT! GET IT OUT! GET IT OUUUUUUUUUUTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!
I assured her she was not in danger of being drenched by a pee pee tsunami.
She wasn’t buying it, she was still screaming, and I just couldn’t take it, so I poured a quart of pee out of the window of my car onto Southern Boulevard and then continued on my way.
Almost three hours after we left the house, we finally met up with my parents, and we ventured into the zoo.
Now here is the thing.
Do you know what Wednesdays at the Bronx Zoo are?
Up until a couple days ago, I didn’t either.
Wednesdays at the Bronx Zoo are FREE. For everyone.
So do you know who goes to the Bronx Zoo on Wednesdays?
And not just everyone in New York. Not everyone in the tri state area.
Everyone in the whole fucking world goes to the Bronx Zoo on Wednesdays.
I was starting to wonder if this was such a good idea.
We hadn’t gotten out of the parking lot before the next inevitable five words came.
Mommy, I have to pee.
We stopped in at the bathroom and then headed toward the bison.
Mommy, I’m soooo thirsty.
We stopped to get the drinks out of the backpack, and then headed toward the bison.
There was a four centimeter gap between two of the 150 people crammed into the fence looking at the bison.
Number 7 started whining.
I can’t see anything, Mommy!
Number 6 started whining.
I can’t see anything, Mommy!
Number 5 started whining.
I can’t see anything, Mommy!
My dad and I took turns picking the kids up and putting them on our shoulders.
We repeated this routine when we saw the sea lions. And the bears. And the monkeys. And everything.
We did manage to score some prime real estate for a couple seconds to see the giraffes.
Other than the brief unobstructed view of the giraffes, the only things that disrupted the monotonous I-can’t-see routine were the ninety-seven times that the kids had to pee so bad, were dying of thirst, or were starving to death.
Of course, they were never any of those things at the same time.
After about three hours we had seen most of the heavy hitters, so we headed toward the monorail.
Number 4 was running out of gas.
“Mom! How much longer are we going to be here? I’m tired! Where are we going?”
And then, my favorite…
“MOM! I didn’t really want to come here anyway.“
This, coming from the girl who had been nagging me incessantly to come to the zoo for nine months.
I gave her the death stare of all death stares.
She stopped talking immediately.
And then we finally got on the monorail and everyone actually calmed down.
We saw lots of beautiful animals. The kids were mesmerized.
We saw a gorgeous tiger and a rhinoceros and two huge elephants and a bunch of other cool animals.
And everyone was happy.
Mommy! That was AWESOME! I LOVE THE ZOO!
By the time the monorail had finished, the zoo was about to close so we headed to the parking lot and left to go home.
The kids were great in the car, and talked about their favorite things at the zoo.
When we got home, my husband was sitting in the kitchen.
“How was the zoo?” he asked the kids. “What did you see?”
“THE ZOO WAS GREAT!” they said.
“AND YOU KNOW WHAT WE GOT TO SEE???
WE GOT TO SEE MOM PEE IN A CUP!”
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