Tuesday, July 5, 2011

my baby was on a merry go round high

My boys and I spent a few days at Cedar Point this past holiday weekend and we had an amazing time. My oldest son has been asking to go to a beach for about a year now so that was our first stop. Armed with shovels, pails and new beach towels we hit the sand. Matthew had a great time playing in the water and suddenly had no fear. Which really made it very clear that we need to get that boy back into swimming lessons so he can get it together and finally learn to stay afloat in the water. The 24 month old enjoyed sitting in the sand and filling his bucket. He also seemed to enjoy flinging the sand at Mommy. He did not enjoy the water. He was content sitting in my arms as I walked into the water but all attempts to set him down anywhere near the water caused loud shrieks. Overall, the beach was a big hit. Our oldest son was over the moon excited about finally getting to play in the sand and water, and watching his smile was all the thank you I needed!

The next day we headed to the amusement park. I spent the day pushing the little guy in the stroller and talking him down off his merry go round high. For a baby who has never been on an amusement park ride before in his life he certainly took to the carousel. Total addiction after the first ride.

While my husband took our older son on every kiddie ride in the park I had a lot of time to think. The circle of life can really be found at Cedar Point.

My family didn't do the amusement park thing so I didn't get to Cedar Point until Junior High, when the High School marching band would go every year.

I remember...

  • watching my close friend Victor attempt to push a straw into a Capri Sun, shortly after they first hit the market. One minute he was wearing a clean t-shirt and punching the pouch with the straw and the next minute he was covered in red juice.
  • squeezing with a huge number of my friends into the recording studio to record our version of "We Are the World". How old does that make me sound?
There were many years after high school where I didn't go to amusement parks, really. Then I met my husband. When we first met he was quite a roller coaster fanatic and a dedicated Cedar Point season pass holder. Our first summers together found me:

  • breathing slowly to calm myself down while on the Big Wheel so my new boyfriend didn't realize I was petrified.
  • standing in the long lines for the roller coasters, only to take that "walk of shame" through the car to the other side and down the stairs. I didn't ride very many of the coasters, but I waited in line for every one of them. I logged many hours keeping my boyfriend company. At first I was worried that he was going to think I was crazy for not wanting to ride these rides, but my fear won out. Instead of thinking I was crazy we had some of our best conversations in those lines.
  • riding the Mine Ride, a terribly small little coaster that still scared me, while my boyfriend talked me through it and grabbed my hands so that I had to raise my arms over my head, screaming and laughing.
  • being talked through a panic attack while waiting up in the air on the Power Tower. I knew the quick, gut wrenching drop was coming and I was totally freaking out. My patient boyfriend made good use of the 22 seconds we were suspended above the park to point out the sights. I remember thinking "shut up, just SHUT UP!". But once I was safely on the ground I appreciated his thoughtfulness.
I married that boyfriend and now we have two small children. When I go with my young family to Cedar Point it is like I am walking through an entirely different park. Gone is the fear of looking stupid. Gone is the anxiety of the roller coasters. Partly because I am older and wiser and no longer care so much about what other people think. But mainly because I now have two little ready made reasons why I can't ride. So now my trip looks like this...

  • hanging out on the carousel, eventually standing next to every horse while my son hangs on to the pole and blows kisses to his horse.
  • riding the train with a son on each knee.
  • acting like a responsible adult, forcing mandatory rest periods, reapplying sunscreen, and handing out water to all my boys, including my husband.
  • barely being able to walk after stupidly taking the 24 month old on the kiddie tilt a whirl. How they even let us on this ride is beyond me. My little guy seemed to enjoy it. I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to recover.
  • explaining to my 4 year old why he would be better off simply buying a guitar at WalMart rather than try to win one of the midway games.
  • watching my sons have the time of their lives.
  • watching my husband, who  used to plan our days at the park down to the minute and was sure to hit every thrill ride, have the time of his life watching his sons enjoying something so close to his heart.
So I have been to the park through many seasons of my life, and i have to say that this current season is, so far, my favorite.

a new generation learning the joys of amusement park fun!

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