I have to share this with you before I forget.
Okay, so have you ever seen the episode of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood in which he visits the circus? Of course you have. It's a classic. So, I showed this episode to L- a little less than a year ago. She was into it (who wouldn't be? Mister Rogers is a hero among heroes), but what really caught her attention was the idea that someone, just anyone, could go to a circus and ride a real elephant. For days, that's all she talked about.
"I'm going to ride an elephant," she'd proudly exclaim.
"Maybe someday, if you want it bad enough," we'd pathetically reply. Because we don't know how to tell our kid that Mister Rogers got to ride an elephant because he is a TV star, and TV stars are special cases, so unless you become a TV star, or movie star, or maybe an elephant trainer, or a circus performer, or an Indian (dot), or I guess any number of things that are not Three-Year-Old Girl From The Burbs, elephant-riding is really probably not going to be in your immediate future.
"I'm going to ride an elephant," she'd insist. And we'd just let her go on believing it. We are realists, but we are not dream- crushers.
We went to the circus in July, and of course, there were no elephant rides. They did, however, have a photo opportunity, in which kids could sit on a plastic elephant figure and smile for the camera.
"Better than nothing," we said. We paid fifteen dollars for that picture. You takes what you can gets. Let's put this elephant notion to rest, because wishing and hoping is great and all, but disappointment after wishing and hoping breaks my heart.
The drive home from Utah was fourteen hours. We were stuck in traffic for the last part of the trip. L- was a superhero, behaving like a nun in church for (almost) the whole trip. She was sweet and kind and patient, and Eric and I just wanted to smother her with kisses and hugs and anything she could ever think to ask for just for being so darn good.
So when we drove past the lights of the State Fair at 6:40PM, both of us recently informed that elephant rides were being offered (terms and conditions still unknown), we just sort of knew that's where we were headed. We had to give it a shot.
Price of fair admission for two adults, and $10 later, I reiterate, we are realists, but we are not dream-crushers:
You'll notice L- is taking this moment as very matter-of-fact.
"I'm going to ride an elephant," she said. And she did.
(Oh, and we threw in a pony ride for good measure):