Monday, November 21, 2011

A Bumpy Ride

My father and I went on the teacups when I was about six or seven.  Our heads buried into each other as we went round and round.  He retells the story making the ride operator seem like a vindictive Carney.  I'm sure it was just a stoned teenager, unaware a dizzy father was motioning for him to stop the ride.  I remember  coming home and flopping onto our big brown and white couch.  My dad's memory confirms we were apparently done for the day and in turn, amusement park rides altogether.

Growing up I was the kid trying to come up with every excuse not to join my friends at Great Adventure or any county fair.  I'd have a panic attack just looking at the Gravitron.  My husband comes from a family of thrill seekers and can take his share of roller coasters before calling it quits.  Spinning rides on the other hand is where he draws the line.  So at a recent mall outing we looked at each other with concern as our daughter marveled at the bobbing horses on the carousel.

I look at the decorated ponies, the fine craftsmanship of each pole as they go up and down, round and round and begin to sweat.  Rides are fun and so is puking after you've had too much cotton candy.  I will not have my daughter miss out on these things.  Time to "Mom Up."

I strap her onto the horse and mount behind her.  She's already "doing nice" to its hair and ready for an adventure.  We start to spin at a speed I'm sure is much slower than I think.  I'm blinking and trying to spot a point on the food court.  Its not working.  By the third time around I tap out and my husband jumps on. I wobble off and steady myself on the stroller.  I see my husband is trying as pathetically as I was, gripping the horse's tail like an emergency brake.  The ride stops by his fifth rotation, just in time for him to turn a nice shade of green.

Though we are staggering towards the exit, my daughter is clapping her hands and waving bye bye to the horses.  I'm not a fan of false promises so I don't tell her we'll be seeing them again.  Instead I just say, "Wasn't that fun?" and hand her a cookie.

My husband and I give each other a proud look. We pride ourselves on being fun parents and eager to share every experience with our daughter.  But as we pull out of the parking lot , our discussion leans towards our knowledge of  limitations.  We can certainly be everything to our daughter, but can't necessarily do everything for her.  Moments that she will enjoy may need to be shared.

She babbles the rest of the way home as we share some Altoids to calm our nausea.   We comment on how much fun carousel rides with Aunt Chrissy will be and agree that taking pictures of the two of them from the bench will make us smile just the same.

1 comment:

  1. Love it! I can relate. I avoided those trips to Great Adventure as well. (I do, however, love the carousel so let me know if you ever need a stand in.) I do feel guilty about the fact that daddy will be the only one taking them on rides, but hey, somebody has to stand on the fried dough line!