Every summer, my parents' employer hosts a work Lagoon day. This year they offered to pay for all of us because they really wanted to show Marty off to all of their friends and coworkers. So, we let them. There was a little drama with scheduling because although we'd had it planned for months, it ended up being the day that Richard had to harvest the honey from his beehive with Spencer Bowman. That sadly meant that Richard didn't get to stay for the entire time, but he did get to see and be a part of the very best things that happened that day.
We started out playing the little games set up for families with kids, and then worked our way to the pavilion for bingo and lunch. Bingo didn't last as long as it used to now that we've got Marty, but watching him stuff his face and cleaning up the mess after him was more fun than continuously losing at bingo anyway.
We hoped that he'd love the rides, but were a little nervous that after we'd let my parents bank roll this day he might hate it all and we'd leave after a half hour. He loved just about every stinking minute of every ride.
There were moments when his face didn't quite show the level of enthusiasm that I think he was actually feeling. Like this, for instance. Not a lot of emotion on that face. But did he want to get off of that helicopter when it came time? No way. Also, I didn't let him suck on every handle bar in the park. I just tried to pick my battles and be realistic about the gross things that my toddler is inevitably going to do. It made for a much more relaxing and enjoyable day than it potentially could have been.
I'm sure people thought we were totally obnoxious as we yelled Marty's name and leaned over the railing to wave at him every time he came around on a ride, but we didn't care. I seriously almost started to cry as I watched him go on his first solo ride. He was totally fine, didn't need us at all. He loved it, and he laughed and waved back to us as he went around and around. It was one of those moments where I have to focus on really enjoying so I don't get sad that he's getting to be such a big boy. It's a bittersweet thing. Just a little bit bitter, and whole lot sweet, though.
I swore to Richard that we wouldn't go on the train because the "zoo" that it drives through has "animal cruelty" written all over it. But when Marty saw the "choo-choo" my soap box disappeared and I HAD to take him on it. The kid loves trains, I love him, so what was I to do?
I was sad when Richard left because I didn't want him to miss even a second of our son's first amusement park experience, but it kind of wound down quickly after he left. We rode a handful of rides, went back to the blankets to take a breather and eat some snacks, and then walked around for a bit.
The last ride he went on (two times in a row) was the merry-go-round. I'm glad we ended on such a good one. He was starting to lose steam, but this one perked him right back up.
Richard was planning to come back if we thought we were going to be staying late into the night, but I called him and told him not to worry about it. After running on all cylinders all day long, Marty finally crashed hard-core. And when my mom and I sat down for a minute because we weren't chasing him around anymore, we realized that we were spent, too. So, we packed up the car and headed home.
It sounds silly, but Lagoon was magical that day. That chamber of my heart that magically appeared when Marty was born was beating a million times per minute while I watched him having so much fun. I love watching him experience something for the first time, and getting to experience it with him. And I love it even more when Richard and I are both a part of it. Parenthood is chaotic and hard and tiring and sometimes makes me feel like I am going nuts, but it is also the most special thing in the universe. It is joyful and funny and fulfilling and completely satisfying, and there is nothing that makes me happier.