An AfFAIR of the Heart…
I am done with the fair for another year. I hit all the concerts except two. I was planning on going to see Clay Walker, but I had to work and I was tired, if I am being honest. Another year’s fair has come and gone and like all the previous years, I am happy that I went and glad that it is over…
Which could be a mantra for my life really.
I always want to go, am glad that I went, and then supremely glad that it is over.
My daughter and I had a great time. It is so fun to share music with her and her friends. To be standing, looking up at a stage and see her smiling and dancing and just enjoying standing outside, as the sun sets over the ocean, close to each other, living our lives. They are moments most sublime.
I danced a lot and I realize how much I miss that I used to do this more regularly in my younger years. We still have impromptu dance parties in the kitchen, the bathroom too sometimes, but it isn’t quite the same as going out into public and getting your groove on.
I have a million photos of her and I at the fair. And some pretty hilarious videos as well. And these are worth a million times the cost of admission. To see the way she looks at me when I am hanging with her crowd, having fun and laughing is just the absolute best. I am not 15, not even close, but for a few moments at the fair, I am transported back in time, with her and we are not mother/daughter, we are something even greater than that…friends.
This year she pushed the limits with lots of middle finger photos, which I am sure cause some people concern. Not me. It is appropriate and funny and who she is right now. And I embrace that. Fuck, I can remember wanting to give everyone the big “FUCK YOU” when I was her age. And I love that she feels comfortable enough in her own skin to let that inner rebel shine. While many of you may not get that, I do. I love her tenacity, her heart and her wild spirit. And I never want to do anything to curb that. Yes it is somewhat disrespectful but I am not raising a lady. I am raising a fierce young woman who is filled with her own self possession and has a take no prisoners kind of attitude. And middle fingers are part of that, and I, personally, love it.
Most of what I love at the fair is being with her. I loved it when she was little and innocent and everything was magical. And I love it even more now where her life much more resembles the carnival ups and downs, being somewhat chaotic and all over the place. The drama, the trauma and the simple pleasures of being fifteen.
Walking through the crowds with her, seeing the boys eyeing her, watching her figure out sex appeal, boundaries and who the fuck she is, is a privilege and a gift and I have to say that I am never more in this with her than when we are walking across the fair grounds. It is childhood, it is adolescence, it is growing up. And I am grateful to have a ringside seat next to her on the Tilt-A-Whirl. Seriously, we rode that ride like twelve times. It is my favorite and she humored me every single time. I am not sure what it is about being spun around that makes me throw my head back and laugh, but there is something magical that happens to me on that stupid ride and she gets it. I don’t have to explain it, she just goes along for the ride, laughing with me all the while.
This year she introduced me to the Sea Dragon and we rode that a bunch of times. And it was thrilling. The best part of the ride is when you are hurled to the top and your butt leaves the seat and there is this gap between you, the seat and the brace that is supposed to hold you in place…it is in that gap that life happens…that tenuous place where life is safe (sort of), unsafe (more so than I probably want to know) and absolute fine in the middle of both of those.
It is an AfFair of the heart for me. With my kids. This year it was just her, but my son and I have had some good times there as well. And I look forward to sharing that with him next year. The concerts, the rides, the animals, the sense of adventure, of being part of this whole crazy carnival that is life.
Being at the fair with my kids makes me feel fifteen again…well, not really, but it is as close as I can get these days. I love the music, the location, the lights and most of all, I love being in a place that holds such a fondness, a place where my kids and I bridge the gap of years and just run around the place together, age being something that just kind of vanishes while we are there. Like some sort of magic tunnel, or worm hole in time, where they are older and I am younger and we meet in the middle of it all.
I am better for it. They are better for it. And I am supremely grateful for the simple pleasure in life of being able to enjoy this carnival of life, with her and him, year after year. I pray that we might always go, listen to music, ride rides and eat crap (although I really didn’t do that this year). To pet cows and goats and rabbits and horses. To soak up life, in fair form, one moment at a time and realize that life is right here, all the time. And sometimes if you are really lucky, you get to feel the centrifugal force of aging being lifted from your body as you are whirled around under carnival lights with your daughter by your side, laughing until you almost throw up. And everything is better and precious and beautiful. Long live the Fair!