Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Fair

Yesterday afternoon the kids and I went to the fair. This was the last picture I took as we crossed the field to our car, and it somehow was very indicative of my mood.

I love the fair. I love the food. I love the colors. I love the creepy carnival. I would have fit in fine with carnies. It's a life that seems so consistent, as if carnival life itself is in some sort of wonderful sinister limbo. Year after year, the mustached man at the ferris wheel always returns urging the crowd for a ticket to ride. I am sure it's probably not the same mustached man, but it is in my romantic mind's eye.

As much as I swoon at the sight of striped tents and caramel apples, I have come to see the other side of the fair. The side that shows the inconsistency of this magical world. You see, I am the parent now. I see that $5 dollars buys three darts to pop those dastardly balloons and that little stuffed animal you will win (because "everyone's a winner!") will probably come apart in the car. Through a child's eye though, none of that matters. Those little balloons are there to be popped and those vintage milk jugs are meant to fall. I so wish that, for a brief moment, I could see the fair through a child's eye again. No. I wish I could see it through my children's eyes. To feel the excitement of the hustle, the anticipation of the rides, the enticement of the food... all without knowing about the mustached man behind the curtain.

Perhaps I did see it through their eyes. I let them ride those bumper cars twice and while it did cost enough to make me gasp, it was worth the photos I took of them. Will they remember how much fun they had? Will they remember how much they laughed together? Probably not, but I will and I have photographs to remind me of their pure FUN.

We were all a little off because Dad wasn't there. He's a dad that still sees the fair like a child does. I am there to watch them have fun and remind my husband that our bank account has a bottom. So this time, I had to remind the kids directly which is harder than I imagined it would be. I, in so many ways, appreciate what my parents had to go through the very few times we went to the fair when I was a child... having to say "it's too expensive" in a place that pulls a child in every fantastical direction; forcing them to think logically in a place where logic is suspended (if you don't count the "trade up" policy on winning prizes).

So, for a short time (and while I could afford it), I let magic take over.

I had my camera so that I could capture their fantasy. The fantasy of sitting on a carousel horse for the first time, of winning a stuffed animal, of chomping into a caramel apple, of allowing regular life to take a back seat in that shiny red bumper car. And while I could still feel regular life sitting on my shoulder, I escaped into my own wonderful fantasy... of watching my children.


Charlie said...

Stacie, this is amazing stuff. The photos, the writing, the whole thing. --charlie

Stacie said...

Thank you so much Charlie!!

Louise said...

This isn't what I thought was here (and I've missed more than one post), but this is incredible writing. I know what you mean. I haven't taken my kids in a couple of years and think I have to next year. But I don't want to. But I will because I remember being a kid there. Great stuff.