The weekend of celebrations continues in the chimp house today as we celebrate not only Mother’s Day, but beloved Jody, on her 42nd honorary birthday!
I was in my gracious neighbor’s magical backyard bright and early this morning, heisting two armfuls of lilacs. Many of the chimps enjoy smelling and eating them and even now, late in the day, the scent of fresh lilac occasionally is wafts through their home.
We started the celebration off with a beautiful breakfast forage of raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, cherry tomatoes, pineapple, watermelon, and baby bananas on a bed of lettuce, strawberry and banana smoothie, and more sparkling cider.
The greenhouse was bright and sunny as we set up the party. Pineapple tops are a favorite of the birthday girl so we hoped Jody would find this pokey treat:
And she did:
Nothing says party like shoving an entire pokey pineapple top in your mouth:
Dora had a gift for someone:
Foxie gazing at Dora while enjoying her fresh lilacs and melting my heart into a big ol’ puddle:
Annie enjoying a party plate:
For Jamie, parties are even (or maybe I should say especially) serious business. She was methodically looking for her favorites and keeping a watchful eye on the three pinatas hanging from the ceiling until she could get to them. Jamie loves a challenge so this was her kind of party:
The lilacs are quite popular with a few of the girls and Annie was doing her best to collect some on the sly while avoiding the eyes of the more dominant Missy and Jamie and she collected quite a few:
Gorgeous Missy enjoying a treat box:
Burrito was a wild man all morning long. Riling up the girls, rattling the caging, displaying throughout the chimp house. Pretty much normal stuff, but with an extra dash of wild today. But he did find time to settle down and enjoy the company of his friends on their special day and even went to Annie’s defense to reassure her when she got yelled at for picking the “wrong” lilac:
Burrito and Foxie:
And then there’s Negra, who ended the celebration by collecting all the lilacs she could and winding up with a beautiful bouquet:
Mother’s Day is a special day at the sanctuary. If you’re new to the blog and just learning about the chimps, we only know that Jody was most likely born in the wild sometime in 1975. We chose this day to celebrate Jody in honor of the nine infants she gave birth to, but who were stolen from her during her time in biomedical research. With the exception of Jamie and Burrito, all of the chimps residing here had children and were denied the right to raise them. So today, with full hearts, we honor each of the chimps, their loss of their own mothers, and their children who lost the opportunity to grow up with their amazing mothers. You can learn more about each of their stories here.
Mother’s Day can feel like a bittersweet celebration here at times. But what I am finding is that with each passing year, as we’re astounded and privileged to witness the strength, healing and resiliency of these amazing beings, the pain of knowing the horror they endured for so long starts to fade into the shadows, eclipsed by the incredible light of each of these special souls. While we will always honor all they’ve been through, it’s really become about celebrating all they’ve overcome as unique individuals, the hope and joy they embrace each day with, and the family you’ve made possible for them to have. I hope with all my heart that they feel the same.
Happy Birthday, beautiful Jody!! We love you so very much!! And Happy Mother’s Day to all the mamas out there! And I really think that’s all of us in some shape or form. 🙂