Five years ago, the thought of spending a hot evening at the carousel park -- surrounded by wildlings and bothered by wind -- would have made me grimace in pain. I don't like crowds and I don't like incessant noise and I don't like the sun in my eyes.
Especially a carousel park that is oldish and run-down. Perhaps it had a heyday in the 1990's, but now, it's fraying around the edges. Still, the carnival feel is what really matters, here. The smell of popcorn and nachos. The bells and whistles of clackety roller coasters and spinning seats.
And when I stop to think about it, maybe the wind and the screaming children are indispensable. They bleed into the landscape while traffic blows past on the nearest road, creating a shell of childhood memory.
Even the sun, if I'm in a particularly forgiving mood, fits here, kissing the Ferris Wheel and drawing long shadows behind our loping legs.
So-- a carousel park: really not as awful as my pre-children self would have imagined. Because seeing my daughters' hearts fill and burst with excitement in the midst of all the light and noise and motion is enough to forge new pathways in my irritable brain.
Then it was a screaming, clanging, whirring, heated nuisance.
Now it is a bright and shining memory.
What do you think? Are amusement parks actually fun for parents? Or just a way to entice children into sweetness RIGHT before they crash into meltdowns? Maybe a combination of both? And that's where the cotton candy comes to the (worsening) rescue...