Friday, June 3, 2011

Big-box carnival

I took my son to a weekend carnival in the parking lot of a huge hardware store.

It turns out that a parking lot carnival is an unexpected mix of ugly and serenity.

Would I rather have been hiking in virgin forest? Sure. But on a Sunday afternoon between nap-time and supper-time, with two friends, his and mine, it was a great place to be.

I think this has a lot to do with being in the moment, and sharing the moment.

Too often when I'm with my son I'm thinking about something else too. Like trying to figure out how to persuade him to plant the seeds according to the package directions without taking the joy out of planting the seeds.

But two moms at a carnival with two two-year-olds, and hundreds of strangers, are directly focused on those two-year-olds. I can't walk through a crowd without holding his hand tightly, and frequently confirming that yes, his perfect little hand remains in mine.

For those few hours my thoughts were almost exclusively: Where is J? (Yes, still holding my hand.) What does J want to do next? Is J enjoying the ride? and, Yes, J is enjoying the ride!

I thought those thoughts in the company of a friend, who was surely having similar thoughts about her own little boy. Likely less anxious, but similar.

We watched out for each other's sons too.

In between, while the boys rode tiny chariots pulled by sparkly ponies, we chatted when we wanted to, but not to fill space.

And we watched our sweet boys, and waved at them, and tried and failed to get a good shot with a pocket camera.

Then we sat on a bench overlooking the parking lot and shared those irresistible warm mini donuts that melt in your mouth and taste so good, even if it's almost supper-time.

I feel peaceful just remembering that moment.

Because it's good to be together, with the child you love and your good friends, and in the moment.

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