If you would have told me a month ago that I’d be spending what little free time I have watching a pregnant giraffe pace around her pen and not have a baby … well, I probably wouldn’t have answered because I was very busy watching a pregnant giraffe pace around her pen not have a baby. I mean, seriously — April has been “close to labor” FOREVER. I’m starting to think I might give birth to a baby giraffe before she does.
But back to my original point: If you had told me TWO months ago that I’d be spending ANY time watching a pregnant giraffe do ANYTHING, I would have said you were nuts. And yet, here I am, locked in a dysfunctional relationship via my computer screen with a silent animal hundreds of miles away. Ain’t technology grand?
For those of you who haven’t yet been formally introduced, April’s story simple: it’s a classic girl giraffe meets boy giraffe meets livestream webcam meets entire world kind of thing. And I, like millions of other people, can’t seem to get enough.
Though April has been a viral internet sensation for some time, the first few times I tuned in, I didn’t really see the appeal. After all, she was just standing there, looking … well, giraffe-ish. You know, enormous and spotted and gangly-legged. I watched for a few minutes and then turned it off, because it was kind of boring. It’s not like giraffes make a lot of noise, or do much of any interest besides eat and poop … and quite frankly I see enough of those behaviors around my house. There just wasn’t much happening.
But then for some reason, I kept checking back, and the more I did, the more I realized that was the best part: there just wasn’t much happening. I’ve watched her eat, drink, walk around and occasionally canoodle with her baby daddy Oliver. Some days, I’ve even watched her sleep. It’s about as simplistic as entertainment gets, and given the ever-crazier-by-the-minute world we’re living in, that’s a pretty amazing thing.
When you get right down to it, April is just a big, goofy-looking animal who is perfectly content in her own patchwork-quilt skin. Some say giraffes are an example of God’s majesty, but I think they point more to his sense of humor.
She’s having a baby, which many of us can relate to, but she sure is a heck of a lot more calm about it than any expectant mom I’ve ever seen. I was two weeks overdue with my first child, and had there been a live broadcast of my behavior, my husband and I would still be paying off the FCC fines.
With April, there’s no obsessive compulsion to decorate the nursery, or guilt at not having done so. No mommy wars of any sort. There’s also no talk of Russian scandals, executive orders, or FBI investigations. I haven’t asked her, but I think it’s pretty safe to say April is a non-partisan giraffe with no opinion on the current administration, the role of the media, or the proposed federal budget.
She’s just a mom-to-be, waiting on nature to take its course, and reminding us that it will happen when it happens. I believe that’s a special something many of us used to possess called “patience.”
I’ve heard some experts speculate that April’s allure has something to do with giving us a glimpse into a world we’d otherwise not see. But I think it has less to do with the lure of the exotic than the calm of the familiar.
When I see April, I remember long, sweet walks through the zoo with my dad when I was a little girl, and the way he pronounced it “gee-RAHF.” I remember my own world before my babies came into it — the hopes, dreams, and expectations I carried right along with each pregnancy. I remember that it is possible to just be.
To be honest, I’m not even interested in watching the birth of the baby — that sound very messy. So for now, I will soak in these last minutes with April and be thankful that relief and escape are just a livestream away.
Photo Courtesy: Animal Adventure Park