Oh this is hard… Oliver and Nicholas and I went to the Wilson County Fair tonight as I had promised them I would take them. I was tired and cranky and not looking forward to it… 4 hours sleep the night before and not enough to eat. But I wouldn’t dare want to disapoint them. Ela stayed home and took a break.
Nicholas’s bad attitude turned to glee as we actually approached all the lights and sounds and food smells of the fair. I did not anticipate that both he and Oliver would be just so enthralled with it all… I guess we adults take it for granted. The first ride they chose was a spinning revolving swing of a marry-go-round… but the little kid version of the bigger one they also eventually rode. And then they found the miniature roller-coaster, and man that was a hit. And next the Pirate Ship… that simply rocked up and down as if on waves. And that’s when it hit me. I’m not sure if I’ll post this… but I can’t not write about it. They won’t be my little boys much longer. And I could have so easily missed this moment… so easily given in to some sense of obligation to be somewhere else. Their faces as they were in total enjoyment of this moment… a moment in a child’s life that they need not just for the moment, but for their future, so that they know what feelings to aim for in their adult lives. Watching them was a feeling that trumps all others I could ever hope to have. Their joy was so pure… they were totally unaware of the adult world that is so quickly descending upon them. They were not aware of the little girls sitting next to them experimenting already with makeup; they were not aware of the pock-marked and hagard, tired face of the ride operator and his probably hard life; nor the cost of the whole outing which is so beyond the means of so many, nor my own weariness as I try to give them this seed of an experience that can only come now. I tried not to cry, I tried not to stuff it either. And I glanced around to see if any of the other watching parents were experiencing the same thing too, but I couldn’t tell. I really don’t know who needs who more – me or them. I can imagine a World where every day could hold such a moment with them. In some tribal places, it probably exists as a given. I feel so lucky.

I often tell them, “Thank you Oliver/Nicholas for being my son. You could have been born to someone else, but I’m so glad you chose me to be your father.” I relate this in the event someone can apply this to their own life.