The smell of funnel cake greeted us as we entered the fair, the powdered sugar teased our taste buds with every step forward and the sight of rides already in motion a small hike away welcomed us back. Last year was Madison’s first time experiencing the fair and she’s been asking to come again ever since we left the gates last fall.
We met up with friends near the barn of ponies and roosters and goats and lambs. We caught up quickly next to a cow behind a wooden divider while our children echoed and encouraged conversation by speaking moo, the type of friendships that allow for immediate updating without missing a beat always prove to be the best. Quality over quantity is applicable to more than just shopping.
Carousels. Slides. Trains. All the important stops were made before my little girl decided to step up to a tent with a pool full of plastic fish. “I want to play,” she said. It’s worth mentioning I’m not one to give in to the pressure of carnival persuasion and can often avoid the games (and the increased risk of losing given the nature of the environment), but there’s something about the brown of her eyes that weakens me.
The lady palmed the bills we handed her in exchange for a pole and explained the simple rule of hooking a fish to win a prize. Madison looked back at me silently requesting help and I knelt beside her deciding rather quickly to support her emotionally instead of reaching for the pole myself. Sometimes as parents we have to force ourselves to encourage their independence by watching from the sidelines.
She hooked a fish, passed me the rod and chose a small blue dog as her prize thanking the lady before she walked away. A few moments spent retrieving a fish for the sake of winning, but it was more than that, it was a chance to see the confidence we’re helping build come to fruition. Fair or not, it was a chance to see a glimpse of the person she promises to be… a game where the prize of potential far outweighs the actual task.