“It’s a matter of principle, Denby,” I snarled to your father, which basically means, I’ve waited so long this no longer makes sense, but, I’m so stubborn I can’t quit and let this thing win. “This thing” was a ferris wheel. I would not be had.
We were at the Manhasset School Community Association fair on Saturday. There was sunshine, laughter, and lines.
After accidentally spending $60 a piece on all-you-can ride bracelets–even though you are, um, three and would be going on as many rides, and your dad vomits just looking at the teacups (whoops!)–I was determined to have $130 worth of good ol’ family fun. I would brave the crowds. The blasting music from the graviton. The hoards of lacrosse-shorts wearing teenagers. I would be patient, calm, smile while steering us through the temptation of giant bananas in rasta hats and funnel cake. I would go with it, like I imagine one does when meandering through DisneyWorld. This is fun! Sweating and strangers and dropping hundreds of dollars in minutes. Oh, sure.
There it stood at the far end of the fair grounds, tall and rickety–the ferris wheel–that beacon of whimsical memories.
“Mommy, can we go on that?” you begged, Baby Girl, and I happily agreed. “This will be great, her first ferris wheel ride,” I thought holding your hand guiding us toward the end of a snaking line, a hint of a smile across my lips…
Twenty minutes later–GET BACK OVER HERE! GET BACK! ONE! TWO! IF I GET TO THREE WE’RE LEAVING! TWO AND A HALF–getting on that ferris wheel had become a personal mission. You’re still on line? Your dad asked innocently returning with your brother. I was holding you by your underpants. That’s when I snarled, “it’s a matter of principle, Denby.” And you, Baby Boy, decided you wanted to join.
When the three of us finally clambered into our dangling bucket, oh, you were so excited.
You were literally saying “weeee!”
I said, “this is it?” to the man working the ride, as in this little bar and stretched out seatbelt here is all that’s holding us in? Really?? Is this thing safe? Wait a minute should this really be dangling like this? Is it too windy? And he banged on the side and we took off with a jerk…
Round and around and around…
Never have I ever held onto you so tight.
One arm around each, we were just shy of a three man headlock.
You guys exclaimed, pointing at everything, up–“a plane!”–down–“there’s daddy!” I exclaimed too, “sit back!” “No jumping!” “NO!” “Don’t look over!” “Don’t say fart unless you have to go to the bathroom!” NO!” “NO!” “NOOOOO!”
…When it was time to head home buckling you guys into the car, you said, Baby Girl, “Today was the best day in my whole life.”
And our hearts just melted at the thought.
And that’s why childhood is so special.
That’s why we’ll tell you, there’s no rush to grow up.
Because one day you will, and a town fair won’t be so fun anymore.
You’ll grow 232 gray hairs on a ferris wheel ride holding onto your kids so tight.
There’s a time for everything. A time to raise your arms up on a roller coaster. A time to wonder, did this thing pass inspection? As life clicks us into these stages, round and around and around.