welcome summer. my favorite season. we spent last night at the st.charles festival. the festival you attend when you're in middle school and it's the start of the summer and you know your crush is going to be there and you have a new tan and a new outfit and you show up with your pack of girlfriends and there he is- standing beneath the lit up french fry stand and you feel those butterflies and those feelings that only your first crush and summertime combined can bring. Wasn't I just there? wasn't that just me?
it was like that last night but 15 years later and I'm walking in with my husband and toddler and the most exciting butterflies come back but this time it's caused from the feeling of what your son is about to experience. his eyes open wide at the lights, the people, the kids running around with those oversized stuffed bulldogs that will end up collecting dust in the corner of their room. then he sees it. finn sees the carousel from out of the corner of his eye and when I put him down he grabs my hand and starts to sprint. we're running in and out of the crowds, dodging people and strollers and teenagers and we're laughing and I don't think Finn could move his feet any faster. we're really laughing now and he's saying "yes yes!" and we make it to the gate before the ride starts and he picks out his favorite horse and holds on and I hold on to him. it's still humid out and the wind from the ride blows our hair back. we wave to James trying to snap a photo and when the ride stops I expect Finn to get upset but he just pulls my hand with excitement towards a new ride. a train that I can't fit on. he nods with a little hesitation when asked if he wants to ride alone, but when it's time to get on he walks right up and I buckle him in. off he goes. I watch him and think he looks like such a big boy. he's not a baby. the ride ends and the fireworks start. the first fireworks finn will see. he smiles at the first two big booms and sparkles of light but on the third he starts to cry. "No more fireworks!" He says, crying harder now. On the walk back to the car Finn keeps his head burrowed in James' shoulder, peeking up when it gets quiet and then putting his face down when the firework explodes. by the time we reach the car and put him in his seat the fireworks are in the distance lighting up the sky, the booms muffled by the comfort of the car window. Finn has calmed down now and he's watching with big sleepy eyes and I think, "yes, he's still my baby" and feel a blend of relief and comfort.