Today we went to one of those questionable carnivals…you know what I’m talking about, right? The ones you go to, pay for a wrist band so your kid can ride everything a zillion times, then you take a look at the rides and you question their safety? You constantly wonder if the screws holding the pieces that are holding you were tightened all the way? And if you’re going to enjoy the ride or plummet to your death? Yeah, one of those carnivals.
My son is a thrill seeker, he loves all the rides. The faster, the crazier, the better. Which is great because I (still, mostly) love roller coasters and thrill rides myself. But my husband, not so much. So this carnival was fun, I won’t lie. But as I’m getting older, and have become a mom myself…well, I kind of (sometimes) see things from a different perspective now. And since I still love rides, or rather I can still stomach them (and my husband cannot), I’m the lucky one who gets to join my son when we see that sign: “YOU MUST BE AT LEAST 48″ TALL OR BE ACCOMPANIED BY AN ADULT“. Because unfortunately right now, his stature doesn’t quite measure up to his daring.
So on days like these, when I get to share these moments with my son, I jump at the opportunity. Someday, he will be tall enough to go solo. Someday, he won’t want his mommy sitting next to him laughing her head off with him. Someday he will want his girlfriend sitting next to him, and I won’t even get invited to the carnival. So for today, spinning-metal-car-of-vomit-and-death it is.
The truth is, we were both truly laughing so hard the entire time we were on it, we both may have peed our pants just a little bit. And he’s five. Right now he thinks me laughing out loud, especially when I’m pretending to be scared (I was NOT REALLY SCARED! Merely beginning to get just a little queasy…), is the funniest thing ever on the planet. So we spun, and laughed, and laughed, and gasped for breath, and spun some more…until the ride finally (safely) ended.
When we returned to where my husband was standing, gratefully, on solid non-spinning ground, he said, “I got a great picture of you guys” and showed me this shot. Immediately it reminded me of motherhood…what it feels like so many times….how as mothers we fluctuate constantly between being terrified and laughing our asses off, worrying if we’re totally screwing them up, or reveling in the fact that we are doing an amazing job of raising our tiny humans. I especially love how happy and carefree my son looks in this moment. He looks like the wise sage who is wordlessly saying, “RELAX woman, and enjoy the ride! Can’t you see how easy that is?” I also realize and appreciate how, in a different situation (or in a different moment of the very same situation), our faces may just as easily have had the opposite expressions.
And that’s the beauty of raising a child. We learn as much from them as they do from us. If we allow ourselves to, that is.
Spin on, mamas, spin on.