Tuesday, June 14, 2011


This was where the face painting occurred.
My kitty and my peacock.
What I didn't tell you about yesterday was the Italian Festival. It's not like we planned it anyway. The glorious Newport Aquarium mentioned yesterday resides at the lovely and intoxicating Newport on the Levee, which is basically, the only mall on Earth I don't hate. They have a very cool movie theatre, nice restaurants, a comedy club, and of course, a levee. It's right by the Purple People Bridge, too.

So, there's usually some stuff going on there. This past weekend, it was an Italian Festival. I must admit that after wandering it for a while, I saw very little that qualified as Italian. There were margaritas, but I thought those were Mexican - what with the tequila and all. Bellinis would have made more sense.

In any case, it was a festival, so we wandered down to the levee and took a look around.

There was a long line of what I call "fair games." Which are usually not all that fair. Like popping balloons with darts and grabbing the magic rubber ducky. As we were strolling down the line toward the rides, a.k.a. all my kids were capable of seeing, the barkers yelled out to us, attempting to entice the gullible children into plunking down some of mommy's money. The last lady in line was manning one of those booths where you shoot the water from the gun into the clown's mouth.

"Sorry. I'm not very good at water games, but have a nice day!" called Brynna as we walked past. I was kinda shocked. Partially because Brynna is usually pretty shy, but partially because I am terrified of talking to those people. Because I'm afraid that I'll hurt their feelings if I say no or that they'll rope me into doing something I don't want to.

Afterward, she and my mother in law headed into the fun house, where, apparently fun was had.

While we were waiting, Maren was getting itchy to do something, and I spotted the Tilt-a-Whirl. Now, the Tilt-a-Whirl is by far my favorite ride ever. I love the Tilt-a-Whirl and I would ride it all day every day if given the chance. Which I am not. Ever. I haven't actually seen a Tilt-a-Whirl since High School. And actually, this wasn't strictly-speaking a Tilt-a-Whirl. The cars were shaped like strawberries and they went in a level circle instead of going up and down the hills. Maren met the height requirement, so on we hopped on.

She was anxious to get going and I kept having to assure her that the ride would go as soon as everyone was seated. (It was hot in that giant berry.) When the ride finally started moving, she looked at me excitedly and then with great disappointment.

"Is this all?" she asked.

"Nope." I responded. I started turning the table in the middle. For the unitiated, there is a small table in the middle of the berry which everyone sits around. It's basically a wheel. You turn it and the berry spins. You turn it faster and the berry spins faster. I can turn it pretty darn fast.

At one point, Maren fell over and her head was against my elbow. The centrifugal motion was so great she couldn't pick her head up. All the while, however, she was giggling in what can only really be considered a cackle and screaming "Faster, Faster!!"

We've seen this before with her. Her Uncle D took her on a four-wheeler ride up and down the drive a few weekends ago and her screams of faster-faster were all you could hear.

When she was little, I thought Brynna was fearless. She climbed higher than she should and did things that scared me, a fully grown adult. But, as she's gotten older, I've realized that Brynna has plenty of fears, mostly social in nature. She likes to go fast, but not nearly as fast as Maren.

Maren is afraid of heights. And she seems to be very hesitant of water. She's also leary of tight spaces. She is not afraid of speed, though. She is always screaming for things to go faster.

I know that should scare me. Having a little daredevil is a terrible thing on a mother's heart. But it actually delights me. I truly get a kick out of watching my kids stare down something that terrifies me (or anyone) and stick out their tongues. I love to see her shock the adults who think that she should be scared. I love to see Brynna chat conversationally with strangers (as long as there is a trusted adult there) even though I know that new things make her feel shy sometimes. I love to watch Brynna climb to the top of the highest play structure and for Maren to hang upside down on the monkey bars. Even though my chest gets tight just watching.

I am scared of so many things. I am scared of being alone. Of losing my girls. Of getting overwhelmed. Of going beyond broke into the magical land of poverty. Of forgetting how to write or losing my eyesight or any number of things. I have a feeling akin to terror whenever I log onto my bank account to check my balance. I guess I just love to see their freedom from the fears that I have. I hope they never lose that. I hope they are always, in their own ways, fearless.

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