Friday, May 11, 2007

The Circus

Wednesday, after being house-bound for too long, we went to the circus. Ethan had planned on staying home as he had work galore to do for classes. As it turns out, he ended up being in the throes of . . . well, throwing up, so he got to watch something else fly through the air with the greatest of ease. But this is not where I was going with this post, so let me just stop there.


Anyway. I took our kids to the circus. Going to the circus always involves a bit of an inner struggle for me -- I love the thrill of the daring feats, the sheer physical prowess of acrobats who can almost look bored while juggling firesticks and standing on an elephant, the humor of pink and blue poodles driving scooters, and . . . the thought of being a circus gypsy. I hate the clowns (with one exception that I can recall), the endless drivel of the ringmaster, the suggestive costumes (I mean, really, I understand needing to wear tight clothing to do some of these acts, but it just gets ridiculous!), the ever-present allegations of the poor treatment of circus animals, and . . . the thought of being a circus gypsy. 


But going to the circus, and this circus in particular, was a tradition growing up. Edith Shaeffer talks a lot about the importance of family traditions, and I agree. Traditions help to knit your past together. They become the mileposts of your history. But back to the circus. It's not a huge circus, which is part of its charm. You have time to absorb what's going on without trying to look from ring to ring to ring. And, like the fair and going to Grandma's for Thanksgiving, I always looked forward to going. I can even remember what I wore one year when I was about 7 -- purple corduroy overalls that my mom ordered from a JCPenney catalog.


So when I saw that the circus was coming, I decided that we would go. I am learning that part of the joy in doing something special is the expectation that builds. Usually I forego this expectation for the 2-and-under crowd as their concept of time is extremely . . . immediate. We don't even tell them we are going to church until we are actually in the car (eventually they figure out that the whole bathing/nail clipping/picking out dresses for the next day routine is a precursor to Sunday), and even then it's just to do the "We're going to church to worship God. How do we worship God? We listen. We sit still. We don't touch the people in front of us. We..." etc.


But I wanted Ben and Lily (5 and 3) to have that expectation.  I got some circus books from the library and gathered the kids around me. I told them we were going to go somewhere special in a few days, and the clue was in the books. Lily looked at them and said, "We're going to the library?" (In her defense, she comes from a long line of "clueless" guessers, her brother being one of them: Ben, we're eating your favorite meal for lunch. What is it? Something you specifically asked me to get. Ummmm.... It comes in something rectangular. Ummm... [Ethan, exasperated]: It comes in a box and starts with macaroni! [Ben, 5 minutes later]: Macaroni and cheese!)


Anyway. You can see why we needed to prepare. We read the books, discussed the pictures, and talked about what we might see at our circus. Ben pretended to be a lion, and Lily was the princess lady who feeds the lions and gives them baby dolls to sleep with. The day of the circus, everybody took baths (oooh, we must be going somewhere REALLY special!), got dressed in special circus clothing (T-shirts and denim overalls for boys, pink gingham dresses for girls), and made lemonade to take with us. As an added bonus, we drove past the lawnmower man bringing our FIXED!! lawnmower back.


We met my parents and siblings at the fairgrounds. I'm not completely stupid; five little children with only me would mean I was assuming the role of ringmaster for our own little private circus and NO THANKS! My kids were enthralled; any time they get to do something with Grandma and Grandpa is a big deal.


So we were enchanted by the artists swinging in the air, entertained (well, some of us) by the goofy clowns, and frightened by the motorcylists. And 100 minutes and an elephant ride later, it was all over. All that we had left to show for it were some blow-up toys on sticks.


And the memory of a really great time, the continuation of a tradition.


Ben, Lily, and cousin on elephant

(Ben, Lily, and their cousin on an elephant. My photographic abilities are astounding, I know.)


  1. your younger sisterJune 19, 2007 at 4:52 PM

    i can send you a better picture than that.

  2. I welcome it with open arms!


Related Posts with Thumbnails
Protected by Copyscape Duplicate Content Detection Tool