Editor's note: Kendra is blogging about being a mom trying to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic at My Rebound by FOX 17. She is married with four kids: a 1-year-old daughter, 2-year-old son, 5-year-old son, 10-year-old daughter and 16-year-old bonus son. She is also the owner and lead fitness coach of Allegro Coaching in Grand Rapids, which she founded in 2009. She lives in Tallmadge Township.
After receiving the news that gyms are not allowed to reopen again, I decided to take a much needed day off with my kids.
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No emails, no classes, no questions from members. I had just spent three days trying to get my business open and that went down the drain with one quick legislation.
So, we found ourselves at the John Ball Park Zoo. Partly because it’s so close to our house and partly because it was too nice not to be outside. I completely forgot it had gone under a massive renovation project and man, did that place come alive! With over 30 “lego-style” animal statues….sharks, elephants, lions, snow leopards, giraffes, and some animals touting almost 100,000 bricks to complete, it was a breath of fresh air….and joy! I have absolutely no idea who has the time or patience to create such detailed statues but the zoo got an A+ from our family that day. Yes, it was busy, but we got an up-close encounter with the chimpanzees, the grizzly bear and even a meerkat runaround in their boroughs. Even though some may think the John Ball Zoo is too small, I absolutely love the diversity of exhibits and animals.
It was exactly what we ALL needed to get out of the house this week.
It reminded me how lucky we are to live in West Michigan. The zoo, the beaches of Lake Michigan, the downtown scenery, the farmer’s market and all the museums. When you don’t have the means to travel far for summer, why would you even want to? This community is as big as you want it to be!
It also reminded me how diverse West Michigan is. I love being at the zoo because everyone can be a kid again. There is wonder, excitement and joy in the simplicity of seeing those “animals” again. Although the crowds were filled with all different skin colors, nationalities, languages and ages, we all came together for one common day of happiness.
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It's easy to think that someone who looks different from you is very different from you; but that's not true. Everyone is more alike than they think. No matter where you are from or the culture you grew up in, your problems are similar to each person around the world. Every human wants love and appreciation and has fears and doubts. There's a common thread that connects us and we can learn so much from one other if we're willing to give others a chance. Individuality is what makes the world bold and beautiful. Every flower, plant, waterfall, and animal is unique in its own way, and it gives us something to marvel at;. Humankind is no different.