But the little ones finally did become antsy and so Louis promised that they could ride the merry-go-round – which was on the other side of the amusement park! And so off we went. Louis put the 3 year old in the stroller, with the 5 year old holding on to the handle, the older girls held hands and stayed between Louis and me, I held tightly to the 8 year old, and Sandy pulled up the rear – all very intentional placement.
The deeper we got into that pit, the more my skin began to crawl and the sicker I got. Very literally. At one point, there were huge tears in my eyes and I thought, “I’m going to lose it at any moment now.” (What idiot cries at a fair? Me!) From every side someone was calling out to us trying to pitch their wares, sell their toys. Some would even have the audacity to try and put a ball or dart in our hand. Every now and then the older girls would begin to pull away as they looked at all the “side shows,” and I would quickly call them back. And each time there was a loud noise, Leah would react by squeezing my hand tighter. All I could think about was what a perfect picture of the world it was: things/people constantly vying for our attention; trying to pull us away from our charted course. Always offering something more exciting or better. Even as I thought it, Louis turned around and yelled, “This is Babylon!” The only way to make it through unscathed or untouched was to keep our eyes straight ahead on the one leading the way – in this case, my brother.
When we finally reached our destination, I heaved a great sigh of relief and probably offered a quick prayer of thanksgiving, and then I was the fortunate one who got to climb on the back of a horse and ride that old-fashioned merry-go-round with the three smaller ones – and I had a blast! I laughed my head off as the littlest one waved to his daddy and Uncle Sandy time and time again, and then preceded to kick and ride that bronco into the sunset.
We ended the evening with corndogs, fried cheese, pecan pie, and cotton candy while Lee Greenwood sang “I’m proud to be an American” and fireworks exploded in the night sky.
The trip was hard – but the ride and the feast and the lights were worth it!