I just love turtles. Always have. Over mother's day weekend I was away at a homeschool conference for the day. When I came home, Hayden rushed out to the driveway to greet me in a flurry of excitement. He hurriedly escorted me to the garage to proudly present me with my mother's day surprise. He caught me a turtle! He had it swimming around in my garage with a head of lettuce in my brand new rubbermaid tote with my oven rack on top for a lid! :-) He was so incredibly proud. It was probably the best mother's day gift of all time.
We do have a creek that runs behind our house, but it is really unusual to find a turtle of this size back there. He was a special occasion turtle, for sure. We watched him for a few hours, then took a stroll to the creek to reunite him with his buddies.
Just a few days before that, the boys found a smaller turtle at my Mom's house. She said he appears every now and then. He likes to hang around her side yard. Of course, now that he knows there are grandsons who come to visit, he may be changing his schedule a bit. Ha!
One of my favorite turtle memories was from many years ago when we went to Arkansas to visit Opa and Suzanne. We found a box turtle on the road on our way to their house, so we stopped and picked it up. I'm not sure who was more excited; my kids or Miss Suzanne. She went to the grocery to buy wet cat food, because she said that is what turtles like to eat. She also got a bottle of red nail polish and let the kids paint their initials on the turtle's shell. The kids built a little enclosure for him out of stones. Miraculously, he stuck around for several days, providing hours of entertainment for my little nature lovers. The morning we left was the morning he mysteriously disappeared. We'll never know if he finally learned to climb stones, or if Miss Suzanne took a little pity on him and orchestrated his timely departure so we wouldn't have to endure any tearful goodbyes. I still look for turtles every time I'm on the road to Opa's house, just in case there's one traveling around with some faded initials on his shell. Kind of like a turtle bumper sticker. :-)