Last week my husband and I took our two kids along with my sister and two-of-her-three kids to the St. Margaret Mary Fair in Slidell.
The only child that was left behind was my 19-month-old niece Reagan, who was too little for almost every ride. The four older kids, who are 4, almost 5, almost 6 and 7 years old, did not mind leaving the young one home.
Taking four young kiddos to the SMM fair is a lot of fun…and a lot of work. They all wanted to run in a different direction, couldn’t stand still in any of the lines, and wanted as much cotton candy as a child’s mouth could hold. By the time my sister and I were done, we were exhausted even more than the kids, who were pretty tired by the way. I can always tell when my 4-year-old is tired because he cries at the littlest things, and I always know when my almost-six-year-old is hungry because he cries at everything, too.
Since I was a little kid, I have been going to the St. Margaret Mary Fair. My parents always took us, and it was a big treat. My parents were like a lot of other families where they didn’t have much extra money, but when they saved up enough, they used the extra money for something family-related. That resulted in some of the best memories of my life. I can remember me, my two sisters and younger brother being so grateful for everything extra we got — getting a hamburger and ice cream cone from McDonald’s was a pleasant treat.
In return, I have raised up my kids the same way. They don’t get a toy just for going to Walmart, or because it is a Monday. They get something special because it’s a birthday or Christmas, or maybe because they have been doing great in school. If I come home from the grocery with a name-brand cereal, my kids tell me thank you and give me a hug.
So the fair was a big deal for them just like it used to be for me. I remember all the rides with their bright lights and music. I have never been on any for the scary rides, but I found the Ferris Wheel to be quite thrilling. My kids are still too young for the scary rides, but they had fun riding on the little roller coasters and big swings.
I’m a few weeks away from being 30 years old, and the older I get and the more I read the news, the more I realize that spending family time is what life is about. In all my many years on this earth, I remember times with my family more than any other. Family is what matters. What will you do with yours this week?
(Chrissy Smith is the Sports Editor of Tammany West, and a former college athlete. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)