This summer we took the kids to the Santa Cruz Beach and Boardwalk to ride the rides. Grandma and Grandpa came along, too. The kids all paired off with ride buddies and that left me as a singleton.
Well, I don't happen to think I'm too old to have a good time, so I rode by myself on a souped up merry-go-round. Never mind that it was near my appointed nap time on any other given day and I was caught yawing as I zoomed passed the crowd, but my parents stood there and waved at me every time I passed.
Who would have thought that at age thirty-seven I'd still have my parents waving and taking pictures from the sidelines while I rode the merry-go-round? This causes one's ego a bit of discomfort, I tell you.
I tried to ignore their pleased expressions as I wobbled through the exit gate. I can't recall the last time I rode such a ride, but I'm sure it didn't leave me that disabled.
Naturally, I tried to save face by pairing up with my nine-year old son using the excuse that he needed an adult to ride with him and that was exactly what I was doing; I was riding as a chaperone.
So I screamed when he turned us upside down in a cage on a Ferris wheel. I never wondered what it felt like to be strained through a colander, but I now know it is a rather painful, if not embarrassing, experience.
Forty feet in the air, stuck in an upside-down position with my gut clenched tight by a one-size-fits-no-adult seatbelt and all the blood rushing to my face, I let everyone at the Boardwalk know that I was ready to make a deal with the Almighty.
"Just get me down, now!"
This sent my son into a fit of contagious laughter and reminded me that I have one very weak bladder...and did not bring a spare change of clothes. There just isn't any way to gracefully exit a ride like that and I unceremoniously placed my lunch in the trashcan. Did I win a prize?
Oh, yeah. Tickets for all the kids - $136.00. Hot dogs and sodas $18.50. The hysterical laughter and cheeky grins on my parents' faces -- priceless.
If you're looking to create wonderful memories this summer, there's still time. Take your kids and your parents to the nearest amusement park and make sure you bring plenty of film for the camera. You won't want to miss the opportunity to capture the last fleeting moments of your youth and sanity.
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