We returned to our annual family crayon box adventure this past weekend–the Collier County Fair.
This is our eighth year visiting the fair and the best one yet — cooler temps, way less crowds, and Dash out of the “runner” phase where I’m constantly worried he’s going to take off. This is also the first year we didn’t bring the stroller, and we regretted it simply because we missed having a place to dump all of our stuff.
As with any continued return to the same place every year, the fair works a bit like a holiday, punctuating the passing of time more than we notice in everyday scenes. As if seeing my kids changing in front of the same cotton candy stands and 4H tent doesn’t hit home enough, the fair makes it literal with all the “You Must Be This Tall To Ride” measuring sticks. “Alright, Fair. I get it. The hourglass sand is slipping, and my kids are getting old.”
I have a foolproof remedy for the sting of “my kids are growing too fast.” I’ve tested this remedy a number of times in numerous settings to validate my theory these past two years, and although I’m still in the data collection phase, I can assure you my remedy works every time. It might take a day for it to work, but I promise you, it works and anyone can use this method.
It goes like this: Find something to be grateful for in this moment, say it out loud, acknowledge time is passing and then…Lean into it, lean into it, lean into it so hard.
At the fair, it goes something like this.
The sting: I remember when Lainey held my hand in this same spot, and her little pacifier lisp when she said “yes” to the bumble bee ride. Why does time go by so fast?
The remedy: I look out at my kids walking next to my dad and Brett’s mom. I whisper, “I’m so grateful for vibrant, healthy grandparents who love my kids so much.” I crouch down to take a picture of the scene.
I ask Lainey and her friend if they want to ride the really high swings. I high five my girl when she says yes–for the first time–and holler all sorts of embarrassing woo-hoos while she’s soaring.
I drink cold beer and hook my arm around Brett’s, buy cotton candy, shove a wad of one dollar bills in Lainey’s hand when she asks for an elephant ear.
I breathe in the sunset, the secret magic fair light (setting sun through dirt particles can’t be beat), the wafting scent from the taco stand, the smorgasbord of colors, the carousel music.
I promise to hit the pet store for fish accessories the next day, secretly hoping they gave us the most unhealthy fish so we don’t make it that far (wish granted, rest in peace Chicken Legs and Rat).
I love this little fair and the memories it gives our family every year.
A few more moments from the evening:
And we are thankful for another family memory with Lainey’s dear friend, Maggie. She’s like part of our family. We know that Maggie’s family will most likely be moving somewhere else in the country later this year and are beginning to talk about how hard that will be (cue tears). In the meantime, we are soaking up our time with her.
Happy Monday! Leaning in so hard.