Happy November Fabbies! It’s my birthday month! Whoo hoooooo! Anyway, more on birthday fun later. A few weeks ago, my hubby and I took Zé and Vito to the Arizona State Fair. We have been to carnivals and state fairs in other states in the past, including the State Fair of Texas a few years ago when the kids were very young. During that time, Vito was still an infant and breastfeeding, so of course he doesn’t remember, and Zé was not even two yet, so the time spent at the fair then was more about letting them see the lights while I pushed them in their double stroller, and Zé got a chance to get run around for a bit before she got tired.
Fast forward to present day, where the kids are four and five, so now they are at an age where they understand what a “fair” is, and can remember stuff. I was very excited to go the fair this year myself, because I have SO many memories of going to the State Fair with my own family growing up in Jackson, Mississippi.
To go down memory lane a bit, I can distinctly remember the sights, sounds and smells of the Mississippi State Fair. Being that it came to town for a few weeks only one time each year, I even remember how crisp the air was, as it was always very cool outside, being that it was October and the Fall season. It was tradition that we as a family, meaning my mom, dad, and two sisters, would go to the Fair at night, so they we could see the bright lights that christened downtown Jackson. This tradition began when I was very young, around five or six myself. My sisters and I would excitedly get dressed, putting on our jackets and shoes, sprinting to our van (my dad til this day loves vans, and will preferably drive only that, so it was definitely our family vehicle. And to get more specific, not a minivan, but a high-rise, decked out van complete with captain seats, cup holders, a table, and a television. Ahhh the memories!) But I digress. From the moment we pulled out of the driveway heading toward the fair in Mississippi, my heart would began to speed up. I could feel the excitement bubbling up inside of me, and my sisters and I would discuss all of the rides that we would ride, what “Fair Food” we would eat, and what games we would play. The anticipation was almost just as exciting as actually being there. Pressing my face against the window of the van, watching as the Ferris Wheel lights loomed into view, I could barely contain my hysteria. The day had come. It was time to go to The Fair…
I remember walking around the fair with my parents, while my older sister Tamika was primed and ready to ride any and everything, and even though I was so excited to be there, I still needed a gentle coaxing from my mom and dad to get on certain rides. My dad would play games and win us the hugest of teddy bears, we would hear the loud music from bands that were performing at different stages across the fairground, we would pick out which food we wanted to eat, and sometimes we would get souvenirs to commemorate the occasion. For me, going to the fair is easily one my favorite memories from childhood, and now that I have kids of my own, I am reminded why.
Fast-forward to present day, where I now have a family of my own, so I get a chance to create lasting memories with my kids that I hope they will cherish forever too. And of course I would like going to the fair to very much be a tradition with Zé and Vito as well. The strollers are put away, and they can now walk (or run lol) around and be excited about all of the attractions, sights and sounds that the Arizona State Fair had to offer. We went just after the sun set, so the sky was darkened and the lights were bright. As we neared the fairgrounds, Zé and Vito saw the lights on the rides from afar and began screaming, “MOMMY LOOOOOOOOOOK!!!! THERE’S THE FAIR!!” It was in that moment that I had flashbacks of my childhood, and I knew EXACTLY how they felt.
It was a big crowd at the Fair that night, but not unbearable. We bought tickets and the kids wanted to ride EV.ER.Y.TH.ING. They excitedly ran from ride to ride, as Supreme and I stood by the gates and cheered them on. They even wanted to ride rides that they were for adults, so I had to explain to them that there were height requirements, and that one day they would be able to. We did ride the Ferris Wheel, and the “Sky Ride” ride with the kids where you ride on a cable high above the entire fairground to give you a bird’s eye view of everything. Now, I am a person who used to ride all kinds of crazy rides and rollercoasters as a teen, but as a young kid I was like helllllllllll naw on rides that went high. To see Zé and Vito fearlessly jump on the Ferris Wheel and Sky ride, and then WANT to ride other rides that were for teenagers made me just beam with pride! I was literally in awe of their fearlessness. I mean, my heart still was beating fast when we went alllllll the way up, but of course I had to play it cool because the kids were watching! You know how when you’re flying on an airplane and there’s bad turbulence, so you look at the flight attendants to see if they’re freaking out, but they never are, so it makes you relax just a little bit more? Well the kids were the Flight Attendants and I was the passenger. They were completely unphased being up so high, pointing to lights and rides, and pointing out food they had never seen before. (Y’all know “fair food” is a doozy. Those turkey legs are the sizes of small cars! Zé and Vito were like, “what is that?!”) So I relaxed as we were propelled to the sky and got a chance to see the entire fairground from a bird’s eye view. I kept thinking to myself, “how did I use to ride all those crazy rides in my teenage years?!”
Watching Zé and Vito get on ride after ride, even rides where they barely made the height requirement (so my nerves were a bit shot), brought me so much joy. Seeing how happy and fearless they were gave me an indescribable feeling that I wish I could bottle up and keep forever. Supreme and I would stand by the protective gates of each ride, smiling and laughing while watching the kids have the times of their lives, and this in turn made us have the time of our lives too. We would meet them at the exit doors, as they talked nonstop about the ride they just experienced, before running off to get on the next one. Getting on certain rides with them made us feel like kids again too, making us forget about the madness that goes on in this world for those moments. If could I find a word to describe the feeling, it would probably be joy. Blissful, unabashedly happy, joy.
We enjoyed the fair that night so much that night that we even went back a 2nd time so that we could play games. I’m obsessed with winning stuffed animals, and I certainly did win a gigantic blue Care Bear by shooting on the always rigged, bent rimmed basketball hoop. Whoop Whoop! But most importantly, going to the fair this year, and seeing the world through my kids’ eyes certainly helped me relive my childhood, and made me so damn thankful that my parents started that tradition with us. Up until a few weeks ago, I had forgotten how absolutely PUMPED I used to be about going to the fair. And crazily enough, my kids were ecstatic too. As parents, that is all we really want: to see our kids happy. To make our kids happy. And you know what happens when you make others happy? You end up being just as happy, if not more. So thank you Mom and Dad for bringing so much happiness to my childhood, and creating lasting memories that I will always hold dear to my heart and never forget. And as Supreme and I continue the fair tradition with our kids, I hope that Zé and Vito will cherish these memories for years to come, because seeing them happy, always makes my heart so full.
Have a fabulous weekend! xoxo