I took my step-son and his friend to our city’s annual fair today.
My wife, who in her busy life does not relish the idea of the chaotic atmosphere of fairs, was grateful that I took on the task. My step-son’s Dad is not currently in the picture. My wife apologized to me when the boys and I returned home that I had to “endure” this event with all the noise, smells, and rude people. I replied with a heartfelt, “Not at all! I loved it”.
As I sit here now after an hour drive each way and 9 hours in the hot sun and crowds, I have a giddy happiness inside and don’t feel in the least bit tired. Shortly after telling my wife how much I loved going, a long-forgotten memory came to mind. It became vividly clear to me why I enjoyed going.
I was maybe 8 years old. My sister, a year older, got invited by another family go to the fair. When they picked her up, it hit me at once… she was going and I was missing out. I cried and cried. I can still remember the pain of disappointment more than 35 years later.
My Mom, who had always been there for us, yet seldom lavished us, hugged me, packed me in the car, and took me to the fair that night. Just me. I remember her standing at the rail of the bumper cars as I joyfully collided with the other kids. And her waving at me as I rode the mini roller-coaster and merry-go-round. I am pretty sure I even came home with a toy from the dart and balloon game.
My Mom was on her own… a single Mom, which was rare in our area in the early 1970’s. She had a great job and always provided for us, but an unplanned trip to the fair would have been a stretch. She did it anyway.
Today, at the same fair, in the heat, crowds, noise, tackiness, and expense, I was in heaven. There was no way a boy was going to miss out on a trip to the fair. I loved every second and I will do it again next year.
Every kid should get to go to the fair.