It’s that crazy time of year again – between soccer, ballet, preschool drop-off and getting to the bus stop on time, I’m wiped out; it’s relentless. However, I am grateful to be back in the groove of our school schedule. I love this time of year – the crisp morning walks to the bus stop, anticipating the slow turn of the leaves, ChesterFest (which is this upcoming weekend, yay!) and the county fairs.
We Lashley’s attended the Chesterfield County Fair a few weeks ago and had a lovely time. The children loved the “Kids Tent,” animals, and the little guy was thrilled with the BMX guys. Unfortunately they are stuck with parents who refuse to pay $35 for tickets to ride four rides, at most. After the initial meltdown over the lack of tickets and game playing money ($5 to shoot ONE BALL) the family thoroughly enjoyed it. We left well after dark, when the fair transforms from a dusty wasteland of suspect looking rides to something magical. Everyone was grimy, tired and sticky; it was a success.
Just this past weekend we traveled down to the Isle of Wight County Fair, after much pleading from my mother (she just needed an excuse to go and ride rides). As we arrived, and I consciously avoided eye contact with anyone I might have gone to high school with (no offense, but “catching up” is exhausting sometimes), the fair sights and sounds surrounded us. There was a rodeo, tractor pull and the overwhelming perfume of farm animals and hay - aahhh, the smell of my hometown.
The children were beyond excited. They were with their Nani and she never says no; they could have asked for 50 tickets each and she would have handed them over smiling. After a few games each and multiple cheap toys overflowing in our stroller (sorry Lil, you have to walk now that we have a giant Dora doll) we won the “big one,” a goldfish. I immediately picked out the fish that looked like it was on some sort of stimulant, otherwise I wasn’t sure if it could take the trauma of wandering the fair in the bottom of the stroller. Of course the children named him “Speedy” immediately because of his frantic swimming in his little plastic bag. I am happy to say he survived the trek home and has now joined our other fish in aquarium paradise.
As we continued making our way through rides and games, we came upon the swings. Now, I have always liked the swings and thought that surely they wouldn’t go to terribly high, we were at a fair, not Busch Gardens. The little guy begged to ride it and his Nani persuaded me to let him; she also decided to ride. As the passengers were getting buckled in, a cold sweat began trickling down my back. I happened to see what looked very much like a huge hydraulic system in the middle of the ride. Before I knew it, they were going, and as I watched in terror, it started going higher and higher and swinging out farther and farther.
At each passing glimpse, my boy looked more and more frightened and my mother looked like she was going to vomit. As I began to feel extremely nauseous and panicky, the husband informed me that our little man was beginning to cry; up extremely high and out of my reach and control. I do have to say that my husband and I would smile and give him a thumbs up at every pass. I know you all think that I was being neurotic, and you are correct in assuming that. I have never felt such panic over a situation that my child was in. I couldn’t take it anymore and marched over to the ride operator who quickly informed me that the ride was coming down. He got my boy off first and as he and my mother exited the ride, he seemed better. “Mommy, I almost had a heart attack up there,” he said. Me too little man, me too.
After a few nights of nightmares, of course involving swings, I have now gotten over the ordeal somewhat. I just cannot explain to you the fear that was coursing through me watching him that high up in a little swing. Anyway, I can’t keep going on and on, or you all will start to think that I am crazy. Let’s just leave it at this; we will stick to the carousel and teacups from now on.