We went on our annual excursion to the Ohio State Fair yesterday and I kept thinking of the story I shared in a post three years ago, when I first started blogging. I pulled it back up from the dusty archives and tweaked it with my slightly improved writing skills, so it would be a bit more worthy of your read. THIS is the start of our grand experience. I share it so my new readers and friends can grasp the entirety of how we embrace fun at the fair! Every single year, my daughter throws up while riding the rides. Every single year, I continue to NOT do what a good mother would do. This was the first year I started this unpredictable mission… and three years later, we continue to bask in the sun without shadows…
Take a ride and ENJOY! And if you tend to vomit from the excitement and whirls in the air, don’t worry. We’ll take care of you.
And there it is…
The Ohio State Fair is always a summer must for our family. This year my daughter had the opportunity to perform in the “showcase pavilion” with the dance ministry we have been involved with for years. Some of the dances from the spring recital were chosen for this event. Our plan was to go in time for her to perform and then hit the rides after for the rest of the day and evening. Turns out that storms were in the forecast for the afternoon, so we made a quick change and left early to make it to the fair in the morning just as the rides were opening…
We always pack food and drinks and spend nothing at the fair (sorry all you fair folks who love the fried Twinkies) accept buying the ride bands for the kids. We usually take the time to see all the animals and do all the “country things”, but time was limited and our priorities were sound. It was the rides that the kids lived for and so it will be the rides we do. Off we went to the kiddie land area leaving my daughters costume in the car, and as this magnificent day had only begun…our world was just about to change.
With one thought, who knew we could change our world…
My husband inquired, “I wonder if the kids are big enough to ride the big rides now…I will go over to that area and check it out.”
And with that impromptu moment of question and wondering, we quickly found that the gates would soon open to the world of REAL rides!
It was a bit like running smack dab into Heaven.
Both kids never knew it could be so good! This was an entirely new world for them, as they have only been held captive of the mini-coasters chugging at the pace of a snail, the froggie leap that barely leaves the ground, and the monkey slow spin cycle rides that now all seemed like tinker toys to them. This new part of the park opened the door to HUGE rides and enormous potential for fun!
I must admit, I was scared at first for my daughter who wanted to ride EVERY one of them. Waaaaay up in the sky she flew upside down and swirled with the teenagers through loops and spins. I was amazed at her courage. The thrill was bigger than anything she had experienced in her 8 years. Watching my son fly through the air and wiz around on these large roller coasters was almost surreal. Last year, he couldn’t even get on some of the kiddie coasters! Now he is flying with the new league, up high in the sky with the screams and shrills coming from all who are with him. Amazing. This was the BIG TIME! A whole new world! I was excited for my kids because this was yet one more rite of passage in their lives.
My heart always skips a beat or two when these moments occur…deep inside…a realization. Another season completed. A new step into our future. They are growing…fast.
As our amazing luck would have it on this day of all days, there seemed to be NO lines for all these crazy big and fun rides! I felt like I just brought my kids into Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory and they were running around with that crazed look in their eyes attacking the enormity of it all! My daughter was especially hyper with screams and running to each ride, as she tends to eat life whole with one big gulp! I of course, fuel their spastic flames with yelling for them to “GO GO GO!!! Get on THAT one! No line here! Wow! Look at that ride! I wouldn’t go on that if you paid me! HURRRRRRRRRRY!!!! They are boarding now… RUN and you can catch it!!!!!!”
Apparently, I was even more submerged in the feeding frenzy than my kids… I’m all for grabbing hold of the crazy good that life brings you and squeezing it til it’s dry.
Watching the clock fly by for three hours of ride after ride…..we were getting close to the time we needed to get to the pavilion for the dance performance. We had 45 minutes and my daughter hadn’t eaten a thing all day, sweating from the 90 degree weather and going strong on the rides still! I say to myself:
“What would a good mother do?”
This always whispers in my heart over and over again… usually when I know full well I am NOT doing what a good mother would do!
My response? “Oh, what the heck…they are having a blast! We will just do the rides til the last minute and run to the pavilion and change quickly in the bathroom (gross) and she can hop on stage and dance her little heart out!” Storms were going to come in, and the rides were starting to get crowded, but still many were open. So I decided to let my daughter keep going on the rides, knowing full well this was probably not the right thing to do.
I chose joy over common sense.
“Is this really what I should do?”
Those words kept creeping in like a lurking shadow to the sun, as I squealed with my daughter running faster to the next ride. But… this particular ride seemed a bit more daunting, as I watched it creep up higher and spin faster and loop over… I realized this one was too much. I tried to catch my daughter with each go around, and I noticed her head limp and tilted down on her shoulder. My nerves started to vibrate as my pulse quickened. I am now sweating profusely and ready to scream, “STOP THE RIDE!!!! MY BABY!! MY BABY IS NOT OKAY!!!!” I kept walking over to the toothless operator, holding my breath and ready to release the MOMFREAK within…. It was the longest ride in the park… felt like it anyway…
My daughter comes toddling off of it with a slow gurgling limp of sorts. She is not well. I am just grateful she is conscious, because I seriously thought she passed out on the ride! As she gets closer, I realize the face… I know that look… it’s coming.
In the middle of the walkway, she blows. Over and over again. I rub her back and ask walkers by to just continue walking please. It’s only water coming out, because she hadn’t eaten a thing all day. (NOT what a good mother would do…) A few more purges and she looks up at the next ride…
“SWINGS!!!! BUT SOOOO MUCH HIGHER MOMMY! I WANNA GO!!!!!”
Now HERE is that moment. The voice returns. It gives all the stats: “Daughter hasn’t eaten all day, 90 degrees outside in the burning sun, riding rides for over three hours, just puked, will be on stage in costume in T-45 minutes….” Then the looming question that always shakes my spirit with conviction…
As my daughter runs to the high flying (I mean flippin’ HIGH!) swings with a squeal and a leap…. I answer the question boldy:
A good mother would say no to more rides, get her in the shade to rest, feed her and hydrate her and make her stay quiet for a few minutes in order to ensure that she makes it through the performance and is healthy and strong. With these last 30 minutes before the performance, a good mother would make her wind down from the wonderful exciting three hours she just had. I would clean her up and do her hair and get her looking “performance ready”. I mean, God FORBID she pukes or passes out on stage right?
Yeah, that’s what a “good mother would do”.
“WAIT FOR ME!!!!! NO, JUST GO GO GO GO!!! THEY’RE BOARDING!!!! HURRY AND GET ON!!!!! WOOHOO!!! YOU GO GIRL!!!!”
Turns out, sometimes it’s very rewarding to NOT do what a good mother would do….
We made it in time to stuff a PB&J down, guzzle water, change in the public restrooms, throw back sweaty hair and join the dancers!
After the performance, the rides were PACKED and it was hot and the thunder was heard off in the distance. We left the fair feeling satisfied and grateful for taking it all in…
One big gulp at a time.