I am so proud of my kids, my nephew, my brother-in-law, my husband and myself. I would give us all gold stars if I had them. Today, we all harnessed up, donned helmets and zipped across the rainforest, hundreds of feet in the air, on metal wires, mostly smiling even if we were scared. Amazing. I would have been petrified at 6 or 8, even at my nephew's age, 10. I might even have been petrified myself a few years back, before I decided I needed to learn to be fearless so that might children might also learn, earlier than I did, to do cool things even if they seemed scary.
I love Costa Rica. I'm definitely ready to move here, at least for a time, though my kids are not. They love our neighbors, our friends, our life in Park Slope. So do I, but the pace here, the people, the fresh fruits...I'm sold.
We were awoken, all of us, around 4 a.m., to a sound that seemed like it could be nothing else but some sort of murderous pack of wolves after having finished eating my children. My hubby hopped up, looked out the window.
"I thought I heard something..." he said, half-asleep.
"I heard it too," I said.
"I'm going to check on the children," he said, heading out the door in his underwear. He was back in a second, the sound having sounded again, seemingly right outside our door.
Next thing, our sons had come to us, run down the stairs, deathly afraid in their tree-house of room, open all around except for some screens and a few sliding doors.
The sounds continued, every few minutes for the next couple of hours. We never really went back to sleep. How could we?? Turns out, they were Howler monkeys, known by locals in Costa Rica as Congos because they look like gorillas rather than monkeys. They made up for waking us up in a panic by the show they put on for hours as they jumped around the trees with their babies along with Capuchins and a few Titis.
None of us in the house will soon forget the sound we heard, as if in a nightmare, a sound that resonated like we had died and gone to Hell. It is no surprise that Eli has asked to sleep with me tonight, despite his knowledge that the evil sound came only from the cute jumping monkeys he joyfully watched through the binoculars over the railing of the fourth floor open-air living room.
Hopefully, he will be too tired from the day's activities to worry. I have promised I will now know better than to be afraid and will come and get him should the monkeys make their scary sounds again in the morning. They are starting now, though, before 8:00 p.m. Uh oh. I cannot complain, though. It is amazing to learn about nature firsthand. Even Eli can appreciate it.
He looked at me this morning, wide-eyed, having pulled the binoculars away from his eyes for a moment, away from the monkeys.
"I am learning so much, not even from reading!" he said. Three-dimensional experiences are truly a gift, one I am so happy my children can appreciate, one I appreciate immensely.