As it is becoming tradition, I recently went to the town fair with the family. Oakland puts on a spectacular fireworks show, has a few rides, fundraising refreshment stands and games, you know the deal. Overall it’s a great family atmosphere at the recreation complex.
Last year the family watched (and laughed at) my father in law as he went on some ridiculous spinning up in the air, twisting turning crazy-creaky-clackity fold-up-into-a-truck-that-you-will-occasionally-see-on-the highway-and-vow-you-will-never-ride-one-of-those-rides type carnival ride. Again, we laughed at him, but at the expense of a pair of glasses, he had a blast.
Fast-forward to this year: a last minute unlimited ride wristband (one for me and one for Dexter), a short line at “the Paratrooper”, and my father in law looking at me with tickets in hand asking if I’m going on. After quickly contemplating if I should worry about why the ride sounds like a 1986 Corolla with the original brakes, I hopped on The Paratrooper, and up and away over the baseball fields we went. A bit scary since I haven’t been on a ‘serious’ carnival ride in a long time, but it was fun nonetheless. I’m a rollercoaster person and can handle most any ride (or at least back in my teens I could) but the anticipation here made me nervous. Also, some weird new sense of responsibility and helplessness came over me as i was looking down on the family. I started thinking, “If this breaks, this is so completely unnecessary and avoidable. Will people in my obit ask why I had to go on the carnival ride? Was this some form of bad parenting? Maybe I should have had a salad for dinner, this is really creaky.”
Short of it, no, I don’t believe it’s bad parenting, its just living life the best way. Maybe that means going on a poorly maintained carnival ride, or playing drums and guitar with Mr. Joe and Little Puppy way past bedtime, or putting your worries aside about what others will think of you. I’m a firm believer that you should always have fun with what you do, even if it does initially push you outside your comfort zone.