Life should always have carnival rides in it.
For sensory input, of course.
For dad-and-son togetherness, sailing in rising circles up into the tree.
For a summer day's treat after a good school boy's good day and two bike rides.
And, because the days are counting down to August 30, when the little local rinky dink amusement park closes: It's a short season.
Much as it's always fun to go to the park and see Charlie's big smile as he rides the Frog Hopper, Swings and the Ferris Wheel (well, the days he's fretful and has been calling for the Frog Hopper every foot of the 20 minute trip to the park, the "fun" is tinged with anxiety) -- going to the rides comes with a little dose of sadness. I don't mind that Charlie is often three times the size of the much younger children on the rides he likes, the kids his age having moved onto bigger, glitzier thrills at the likes of Six Flags and such. But I'm wistful wondering: Will there always be things he'll enjoy this much? Can you do the Swings at six, sixteen and sixty and still feel the thrill?
I suspect Charlie will. He certainly doesn't worry about what's 'age-appropriate' and he reminds us that such notions are relative. One thing that has changed is that he's not as crazed and fixated on rides as when he was younger and we'd drag him, screaming and flailing and desperate to stay on the ferris wheel. Now he knows that rides, while fun, are not forever. You start by 'giving the man the ticket.' You end by getting back in the white car.
Once he always had to ride the merry-go-round. Now he walks right by it, which is as well: Charlie is become so tall he'd have to tuck his legs up high, feet in the stirrups; just a few years ago we worried about him falling off his horse.
Carpe diem -- ride those rides while you can.