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Closing The Carnival

Last week we bought a new car – our
first car purchase in fifteen years, and the very first new car
I’ve ever driven. And suddenly, the fact that we only park
one car in our two-car garage – the other side being taken up
with stuff and more stuff – seemed not the smartest idea. We
thought about Texas hailstorms and decided it was time to clean out
the garage.

As I started poking through our stored stuff on Friday, I realized
we were keeping many big toys that the girls simply don’t use
any more; I’d often put “seldom used” toys out in
the garage to bring in on a rainy day or the tail end of some
house-binding virus. But I knew it was time to clean out, so I
talked with the girls a bit and they agreed to let a couple things

We only have three big items getting ready to head on to other
homes right now, but as I began to dust them off I realized
I’d used all three at once on more than one occasion.

Cue the misty-eyed Mommy reminiscence.

When it was a rainy day or we were trying
to save money by not going out and doing stuff, I’d set up a
carnival in our living room. There was the Fun House – a
pop-up tent with two hundred plastic balls. I’d seal the
girls in and give them “only” five minutes, just like a
real carnival. Then there was the pony ride – a plastic
riding horse, a big thing on springs with stirrups and everything.
Maddie and Cora would beg for a ride on the pony, and feed it with
a plastic carrot from their kitchen afterwards.

I’d also set up the skating rink – our toddler play
zone fence, stretched out and folded into a semblance of an oval,
with a little door and everything. The girls would step into the
rink and put on their “skates” – sheets of bubble
wrap taped to their feet. And off they’d go.

All of these things are going away. Oh, we’re keeping a few
“stops” at the carnival: I don’t ever see our
mini-trampoline (aka the Bounce House) leaving us. And of course,
carnival games like a balloon toss are easily recreated.

But more importantly than the stuff going away is the fact that
season in which they were used is going away. I’m no longer
the primary Cruise Director of my children’s lives, and the
need for me to create whole days out of a roll of tape and a sheet
are few and far between. As I pondered whether or not to get rid of
the things, I realized we hadn’t used them in over a year
– since Maddie started kindergarten, in fact. And now that
Cora’s in preschool, they’re just not mine like they
used to be.

So the carnival is closing, and an era is passing. Oh, I’ll
still be organizing extravagant Staycations or Wild Days Out, but
it’s not the same. And I’m a bit sad about it, but a
bit ok with it too.

And I guess that’s motherhood.


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