Or why school carnivals are so not charming
1:30 pm the elementary school carnival is in full swing and it is a feat to behold.Walking amongst the carnival booths and ginormous bounce houses and climbing wall, children dart around happily pulling seemingly equally happy looking parents behind them toward their next adventure. Truly a child’s wonderland and what I, Mom, always imagined as a fun family event to attend. The look of excitement and pure joy of in the eyes of my children is what I live for. And yet it is times like these that I feel every bit the single Mom that I am, and despite the smile on my face I felt tears spring in my eyes as I search for my girlies who were due to arrive with Dad.
While I realize that I won’t always get to experience everything with my children, that I have to share, only the evening before my children departed for Dad’s house; correction Daddy and New Step-Mommy’s house, the first time since Daddy’s house became Daddy and New Step-Mommy’s house. Somehow this realization was more difficult to process then the weekend of the blessed nuptials itself. Why? I am not as mature as I proclaim to be. When my girlies were apprehensive about said nuptials I tried to say the right things. “Daddy will always be your Daddy and Mommy will always be your Mommy and even though we are not married anymore WE love you both so very much. Having a Step-Mom means that you have one more person that loves you and isn’t that a wonderful thing?” I meant every word I said and yet I found myself, looking for my girlies at the Carnival, feeling immature and jealous that not only do I have to share my girlies every other weekend with Dad but with New Step-Mommy too. I know that they love their Dad, but no matter how old we get it’s hard to share our toys. Seeing the intact families that appear to be, what’s the word I am searching for…. Oh yes, HAPPY, is always a reminder of what divorce means to me. Divorce is not just the death of a marriage, but the death of a dream of what will never ever be, even if at the time it never ever was.
So I made my way to the Silly String booth where I was slated to volunteer my time, and I found joy and delight watching the joy and delight of countless nameless children who were silly stringing poor hapless teachers, locked in a makeshift wooden jail. Good clean fun! Still no sign of my girlies…. When my tour of duty ended I made my way to the gym where I found a sad-faced four-year-old being transformed into a jack-o-lantern and an eight-year-old, adorned with glittery bats on her equally solemn face. Seeing the sad faces despite being in a place sure to bring happiness to any kiddo was truly heartbreaking. And then the look of sheer elation when they saw me was oh so apparent as they ran toward me simultaneously for hugs. One would think we had not seen each other in months, not less than 12 hours.
Of course I do not wish them to have a bad time when not with me and yet that immature part of me secretly was feeling a bit smug that my children transformed from broody to blissful in the flash of a second just by the very act of receiving a Mommy hug.
As I walked hand in hand with my girlies out of the gym, I realized that I was just as pouty before I found them. As an adult, however, I had to paint a smile on a face just as they were having their faces painted. We may not be an intact nuclear family, but we are a real family. I still do not like to share my toys but the silly strings that tie will remain…. I looked back to Dad for a moment, letting them know that we were heading to the bounce house, time to get silly.
I am not sure what brought about the sad faces I found that day, but I do know one thing; kids need to be allowed to be well, kids. Let them be SILLY! Let them get MESSY! Let them have FUN! Let them just BE. We went our separate ways, but with our masks now gone, smiles intact.
-Charmed, I’m Sure