Filed under Motherhood Young Children
Saturday was our final chance to attend the annual Montgomery County Agricultural Fair. And so, ignoring a heat advisory, scoffing at all the cleaning and painting I needed to finish, and not even considering the two hour car-trip there and back before Jack’s afternoon nap, I guided my 1993 Toyota Camry (greasy-finger artwork on Jack’s window comes standard) toward the Capital Beltway. Once my car is pointed in the direction of Gaithersburg (where the rest of my family lives) it could probably get there on its own, without me steering. Sometimes it actually goes there when I’m intending to go somewhere else.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair. My parents took my sisters and Chad and me to the fair every year, ever since we could remember. Today I can walk down the carnival streets and still see the crazy ride Janelle coaxed me onto, only she freaked out as soon as it started moving. She was crying and screaming and I was praying—hard.
Then there are the legendary pig and duck races and the firetrucks and the little booths where political groups hand out stickers and balloons, and the arts and crafts pavilions where you can see the blue-ribbon winner for bundt cake. And the hog and cow and sheep pens that smell like…well, you know. The fair is what you would call “a cultural experience.”
And it’s an experience I wanted Jack to have. So after waiting in a long, hot line for our tickets Mom, Kristin, Janelle, Chad, and I took the kids on one of the rides. Jack smiled and said “weeeee” and I thought, I love the fair!
Then we went to Old MacDonald’s Farm which I was sure he would go crazy over since he’s always pointing out the animals in books or on TV. But it didn’t turn out quite like I’d imagined. Instead of petting the animals, he stayed in my arms, gripping me with his legs and repeating nervously: “I say bye bye cow,” “I say bye bye horsie” whenever we’d get near any animal bigger than a rabbit.
Oh well. Sticky and smelly now, we headed over to the cheese barn for some real Wisconsin cheese and cold red grapes. And then trekked back to the car with sweat dripping down our backs. Exhausted, we finally arrived home, and after depositing Jack in his bed, I took a much-needed nap.
I asked Mom later “Why did I do this? Why did I go to all this effort for an experience I thought Jack would enjoy when in reality, he’d probably be just as happy playing in his sandbox at home? He didn’t even like the animals and he’ll probably never even remember we went to the fair today!”
She laughed and told me about the time she and Dad took us girls for a big day of sight-seeing in downtown Washington, DC. Only, we were more interested in the bright yellow trashcans and the pigeons than the Washington Monument.
I don’t remember that day downtown. But you know, when I think of my childhood, it’s like one big happy memory, full of fun and exciting outings. And I guess that’s why I took Jack to the fair on Saturday. I want him to feel that way about his childhood someday. And who knows, maybe twenty years from now he’ll take his little boy to the cheese barn at the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair.