I wasn’t sure what sort of reaction I would get from the chimpanzees when I arrived at the sanctuary this morning. It’s been two months since my last shift and today marks my first day “back on the job.” After two months of being on maternity leave, I was curious. I was curious to see if the initial morning greeting between each of the chimps and myself would be any different than that of any other morning I have been here. In particular, I was curious to see what the boss (Jamie chimpanzee) would do. Would she come right over to me and demand to see my shoes or mark my absence with some other sort of greeting/non-greeting.
Turns out, this morning’s greetings were no different than any other day I have been at the sanctuary. There was no staring at my belly (or rather the lack of a large protrusion from my mid section). It was strictly “business as usual” for Jamie in particular. She barely looked at me before sitting down and demanding to see my shoes (by extending her fingers and gesturing toward my shoes), which she stared at ever so intently. Burrito gave a quick head nod and stuck his lips out through the caging to kiss the back of my hand. Negra gave a series of head nods and extended lips from her blanket nest, not moving any closer toward me. Annie and Missy were too busy engrossed in play to notice I was there and Jody was busy napping in her nest.
I wouldn’t have it any other way. I absolutely love that there was no difference in the way they greeted or didn’t greet me this morning. I love that (and I can only speak for myself and not for the chimps), it was like I was never gone.