“No! I won’t go!” I said vehemently.

“But you have to go to the Fair. The children will want you to.”

I knew I could not avoid it no matter how I wanted to. With 3 little children all wanting to ride and all needing supervision, my husband could not take them all by his lonesome.

So on Saturday, I went to the Fair with my family fully prepared to stay in the shade babysitting our 11-month old baby.

I’ve always been a fair wallflower. I never enjoyed it.

I never enjoyed the sun beating on my head.

I never enjoyed the noise that barraged my ears with silly lyrics and war-like thumping constantly.

And most of all, I never enjoyed that quintessential fair (and amusement park for that matter) thing – the rides.

I have often wondered why scaring themselves silly in the rides is a fun thing to do for many people. How could they enjoy being tossed in a roller coaster, twirled around in a ferriswheel, and jolted in the big slides? How could people enjoy them when just the thought of a roller coaster is enough to make my soles tingle and my knees buckle? Yes. I have a bad case of fear of heights. It will not be a loss to me if I never ever go to a fair.

But I could not deny my children the Fair because of my fears. I don’t want them to be tainted by my own phobia. So, I go. I let the children enjoy their rides even when my stomach is all knotted up and my heart is stuck in my throat.

I do try to ride with them –

– except that even the 3 year old is outgrowing this kiddie ride. He did not even want to be in the little train that went around and around.

He wanted to be with his big brothers who favor the tilt-a-whirls and such.

On this fair day, I resolved to go beyond the merry-go-rounds, not only to give my husband a break but also to have some bonding time with my boys. I have often wondered why I don’t have much fun time with my children. I know – it is because they liked activities that are a little rough for me. I resolved to be less cowardly.

I took the older children to the Crazy Bus.  It did not go up very high.  I took the gate side.   I suppressed a shiver when I saw the ground far below me. It took some self-control to end the ride without me screaming. However, my three older boys were so thrilled to have mommy with them in a ride, for a change.

I got braver and decided to give my husband a longer break. I joined my MIL and the children in that Crazy House attraction. I climbed a rope ladder and walked on a swinging bridge. I was fine until some kid decided to jump up and down the bridge and made the bridge swing violently and the platform to shake. I was on the verge of freaking out. Thankfully, the kid heeded my MIL’s plea to go ahead of us. I finished that event going through a tall slide, the first time I ever did in my life.

I started to enjoy myself and went to similar attractions.

Never had I slid on a slide as much as I did on that day. Then a profound, very profound! 😉 , realization dawned on me – the small slides that little children use in the playground were training for those giant slides – whether they end in water or ground. And those airplane and swinging and tossing games at home – they prepare the children – at least my kids – for these sort of things:

-except that, when the older boys expressed their interest in these rides, I told them – “Not until you are twenty!”

I did not have that ‘training’ when growing up. On the contrary, I was quite sheltered. A slight toss or slide or roughhouse was enough to elicit shrieks and scolding from the older family members. Words like – “Don’t do that!”; “That’s dangerous!” and the like, filled our world. I guess, that atmosphere contributed to my fear of everything. The over cautiousness was so deeply ingrained into my system that, if I were not careful, I would give my children the very same atmosphere that I grew up in.

It was getting late. My husband was getting tired and queasy from the heat and the rides he had had. But the children were still full of energy and wanted to be on more rides. I offered the 3 year old a ride on the train. He declined. I just braved a lot of rides and slides earlier. I got bold. I invited the children to the dragon ride – a harmless looking rollercoaster.

If the little children did not mind it, I was sure it would just be fine.

My three year old giggled his way through. I screamed all the way, held on to the bar until my knuckles turned white, and prayed that each round would be its last and it would stop.

That was my last ride for the day. I have earned my place in the cool air-conditioned shelter of the Exhibit Hall. That was where I spent the rest of the afternoon, watching the baby play in the play area.

The rest, meanwhile, had more fair fun. I heard that the older boys tried the big rollercoaster/water slide. Meanwhile, I relished my accomplishment for the day. Surviving the rides, wimpy as they were for some, was a great deal for me. Next year, I may be even able to take my youngest to the rides.

Frizztext runs a weekly story challenge.  This week, his theme is STORY CHALLENGE: Letter F.  I am contributing this piece to the challenge.  I am glad to be putting listing a new post and not just one from the archives.

Have a beautiful day.  We are likely to have a humid day.  It just rained.  But it is fine.  This is the first rain that this area in Maine has had in a month.  I am looking forward to the colorful albeit poisonous mushrooms that they say come out after the first rain of August.

~ Imelda



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