The Round Up (or) How I Failed Again At Mother Of The Year

Tonight was the night my kids look forward to all year, other than Christmas and their birthdays. It is the night I succumb to the ritual of taking them to The Fair. I would name the actual title of said, “Fair” but then it would end up in a Google search and all traces would lead back to me — that crazy psychotic mother who screamed at her beautiful seven-year-old daughter, after she forced her to ride THE ROUND UP.

Bad, bad mother. Many points lost already.

My daughter cried at the base of the steps, cried on the platform and cried as I strapped the tiny, absolutely worthless, decaying cable across her chest and said: “Look at me. Look at my face. It’s not scary.”  (I meant the ride, of course. She probably thought I meant my face.)  Either way — she was absolutely terrified.

Inside my head, two, no maybe it was three or more voices argued. One said — Don’t do it. Don’t make her go. She’s a little girl. Let her be. Another voice said: She’ll love it. Once she feels how the centrifugal force holds her back — she’ll absolutely dig the physics of it. After all, that logic worked with the boys. A third voice, no doubt an ancestral voice from the Dark Ages said: If she cries to get out of this, she’ll cry to get out of everything. Make her get on the thing and teach her to face her fears. Burn! Burn!  There were more voices, too, but those were my sons’ actual voices as they pecked and needled: “Please, Mom, make her go. She has to go on it!”

And no, thank you for asking (I heard you mutter it), since I’ve already admitted to the complete loss of  Mother of the Year Award, I also admit I am not beneath blaming my sons ( just a bit) for twisting my mind into being stupidly cruel. Ask any woman with three sons — that woman will never be normal or reasonable again. I gave in or they won — you choose.  Both are correct. But my seven-year-old knows how to work payback…  I am not saying she faked it, because she certainly did not. But her particular level of fear beat us all.

So, the ride starts and before it’s turned once around, my baby girl starts sinking down, her knees buckling…

I held her hand, told her it would be all right, to look at my face, to not look down — but she kept sinking further down, and FORWARD! How the hell is she sinking and moving forward? Do the Laws of Physics not apply to my angel baby? Here is where panic set in and I lost it: As she dropped nearly to her knees and forward, from my perspective it appeared the cable was at her throat and potentially choking her. Her face was colorless —

I screamed for her to stand up. I mean — I am SCREAMING for her to STAND UP!

But she remained forward, her throat seemingly at the cable and her face contorted and crying — not hearing a bloody word I said. Then her older brother yells for her to stand up, then her next older brother yells for her to stand up and then her oldest brother (with autism), starts screaming and yelling because he hears us screaming and yelling and he HATES it when we all start that shit.  It was mayhem. It got worse.

I swore. I dropped F-bombs while DEMANDING she stand up because in my mind all I could imagine was her hanging herself on the friggin’ Round Up and the night ending up as just one of those freak accidents you hear about on the evening news. Meanwhile, all I could do was hold her little hand and watch her go? It was horrible — I mean really — it looked horrible. It was also about then that I noticed how friggin’ terrifying the stupid ride really was! Holy Shit! I mean – GAWD — I could see the ground right in front of me! My attention back on my baby, choking, (she wasn’t actually choking, but she looked like she was), I decided to pull out all the stops to get her to stand up and her throat off that cable wire.  I yelled that if she didn’t stand up right then, I was going to kill her when we got off the ride.

Yes, may God have mercy on my stupid-ass soul, doggone it  — I said THAT. Brilliant.  Now, not only were we all yelling for my baby to stand up and not die, but my youngest son was screaming at me: “MOM! WHY DID YOU SAY THAT? HOW COULD YOU SAY THAT?”  (Please, please understand: I said it for effect.  She’s my love — I couldn’t stop the ride.  I couldn’t make her stand up from that wire.  I wanted to be scarier than the ride so that she would get up).

And this was all done loudly, in public, around many young children not my own, in a Twirling Cage — right next to the “Fun House.”

Thankfully, mercifully, the ride did slow down…

My baby girl took a breath and cried as she finally was able to stand, moving her throat from the Son-of-a-bitch cable wire, “helped” somewhat because I pushed her head up and back to the cushioned part of the ride by her chin.  (I’m sure that looked great…)

Embarrassingly, it was then that I noticed the terrified and rather shocked expressions of all the riders within my view. I did not, could not, look back over my shoulder at the others behind me — but boy — I could  feel them… (If anyone ever said that mental telepathy was a myth or a simple carnival side-show, they were wrong).

Ahh…yes… Drama. It’s what I do.  Apparently, my offspring have the knack, too. : /

Tomorrow — my two oldest boys are going back to The Fair for another day of fun and I am bringing my two youngest swimming at a (nameless) Swim Park.  Have I mentioned I am not a good swimmer and am afraid of heights? Yeah.

I cannot wait for summer to be over.

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About Fringe Details

I write spec screenplays. Mum of five awesome people and caretaker of 6 chickens, five cats and one smelly dog. View all posts by Fringe Details

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