It was mid-afternoon. The Iowa sun blazed high, even though the temperature was still twenty degrees cooler than 900 miles away in Texas.
We were hot. The Tackler was hitting the I Am Tired Enough to Nap But I Gave Those Up a Year Ago wall.
“Maybe we should go…” my sister suggested as my son showed early signs of a meltdown.
“He just needs to cool off and sit down. There this magic show going on somewhere… Let’s try to find it!”
The Tackler whined and grumbled, jealous of every child holding ice cream and wanting some in spite of the recent Popsicle consumption.
The stage I was looking for was tucked away in a spot I happened to completely miss.
Instead we stumbled upon a fountain of sorts. A circle of large rocks signaled the spot and children of all ages were running around fully clothed into the cool spray.
The Tackler’s covetous look was too much.
When I Knew What Was Best Before I Was a Parent
Forget how, in the years before I had kids, I looked down at those parents who set their children loose in fountains, fully clothed. Not bothering to dress them properly as they drenched themselves.
I hadn’t prepared for this.
I was the little girl who used to gaze longingly at the others my age because my G-ma didn’t want me to get my clothes wet with the other “white trash” at the fair, even when the weather was insanely hot.
I’d blotted the existence of this water from my memory, until the mists made it roar back.
So I was not prepared.
I searched the diaper bag, certain I had spare clothes for my children if I did let them get wet.
To my horror, somehow the spare sack of clothes for both kids was missing. Luckily, the spare spare bag placed for potty emergencies was intact, holding an entire set of clothes for my son and two pairs of underwear.
My daughter pointed to the spray, wanting so badly to run into it.
Embracing My Inner “White Trash”
What the hell… it is hot, I thought.
I stripped The Tackler down to his shorts, and he ran into the spray with the hoard of other kids.
He didn’t look out of place.
For Lil Diva, there was no tactful way to execute Operation Cool Off Kids. With no spare outfit, she went down to her regular diaper. I covered it with one of the spare pairs of The Tackler’s underwear.
And I broke the vow of “I will never let my kids do that in public” with a twinge of guilt, wrapped in relief.
Because my kids were happy.
And not melting down.
I ran through the spray too. Just enough to cool myself off without a full soaking.
It was heaven.
I even captured a bit of Lil Diva’s joy on video (<–click on the underlined part to see it, G-ma).
Thirty minutes later, my kids were worn out but cooled off.
I still caved and shared an ice cream sandwich between the three of us.
Lil Diva passed out for the second time.
We trekked to the Midway and I spent an exorbitant amount of money for what amounted to three rides for three tickets apiece.
The same ride.
In a different vehicle each time.
Until the end.
If Roller Coasters Were Slow
“Mommy, I want to ride the roller coaster.”
“Uh, I don’t think you want to ride that.”
He pointed away from the rides and at the sky glider. “I want to ride the roller coaster.”
I smiled, correcting the name and honoring my earlier promise to ride it, plus it would drop us off right by the gate my dad was picking us up at. “Sure, sweetie.”
My sister pushed the stroller while The Tackler and I viewed the fair from above, the height causing bursts of “Holy shoots, we’re high!” from his mouth.
I finally found the roasted corn I’d been looking for, I was just thirty feet too high to get it.
We landed where we began the day, seven hours before.
I was in bed by 9:30 PM – completely toast.
I will always remember the joy of sharing a piece of my childhood, and my sister’s, with my children.
It. Was. Awesome.
But next time I’ll be sure to bring bathing suits.
Have you relived a piece of your childhood with your children? If so, what?