Be happy, young man, while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. ~Ecclesiastes 11:9
The end of summer and the new school year...that must mean it's time for the Maryland State Fair! My Aunt Ruth took 3 blue ribbons and a Best in Show for her bobbin lace and tatting. I get a consolation prize for daring to take 3 15-year old boys and 3 9-year old girls to the Fair by myself! I always volunteer myself for these kind of ridiculous outtings (ridiculously fun for kids, ridiculously stressful for me). I don't know why I do it, it must be the eternal optimist in me, or my real joy in seeing childhood enjoyed to the fullest (in life too, and not just my illustrations). Or perhaps I'm just half crazy. I do know that no other parent in my wide circle would ever volunteer for such a mission!
Like the beach trip earlier in the summer, it was a carful of boisterous kids, youthful mischief and high adventure for all. Let me just say a hearty 'God Bless You!' to all of the school bus drivers out there! Just 6 kids in the car made my head spin, I can't even imagine a bus load. I gave in too much and let them eat all the junk, ride all the rides and play all the midway games they wanted. Briana and Nathan both got up the nerve to ride more rides than they would have on their own. We looked at quilts, hooked rugs, cake decorating and crochet. We watched goat judging, cow grooming and pig races (the cutest thing ever). The girls went through the fun house at least a dozen times. They flew, bounced, twirled and swung to their hearts' content, and the ride home was noticeably quieter.
I think it was the kind of day they'll all remember fondly when they're 40-something with kids of their own. At least I hope it was. As for me, I scorned those cheap fair prizes, but as Briana waxed poetic about her scented rose prize, I recalled that at some fair decades ago, I, too, won a scented rose which stood proudly in a corner of my room for many years. The world looks different through the eyes of a child, and I'm grateful for that reminder.
Wonderful, amazing God, thank you for friendship, fellowship and fairs. Thank you for the blessings of memories, traditions and new discoveries. Thank you for the people in our lives who challenge and encourage us to try something new and step out of our comfort zone. And thank you Lord for little piggies ('cause they're just so dang cute!). Amen.