Monday, March 7, 2011

Merry Go 'Round

One month ago, my son didn't want to ride the merry go 'round. He wasn't feeling well on that particular day.

"Mommy, carry you," he kept saying, pulling at my leg. I held him while standing for the duration of the carousel ride, not an easy feat.

But, the other day, he was fired up about the merry go 'round back at the Please Touch Museum. He told me he was ready to ride his own horse.

I placed him up high on the painted wooden saddle and fastened the seat belt. His big brown eyes looked up at the top of the carousel, at the painted horses next to him, and rested, smiling at me. The merry music began blaring from the speakers and we were set in motion. I held onto him so he wouldn't be startled by the start of the ride, but he was fine.

He rode up and down, holding onto the pool, laughing aloud. This was his first time on the merry go' round all by himself.

I thought about a family friend, "Drew," who was deathly afraid of merry go' rounds until he was nearly 9 years old. "Stacy, please take him and show him it's not scary," my dad urged me once at the Ocean City Boardwalk. I was about 10 years old.

I hopped onto the horse next to Drew, who was a ghostly shade, and rode backwards, switched directions mid-ride, stood up on the horse, then reached precariously off the ride to grab a golden ring. Drew laughed and laughed and was no longer afraid. "Now, you have to teach him to ride a jet ski!" my dad laughed as we climbed off the ride. "His mom is afraid of EVERYTHING - and she has made HIM scared of everything too," my dad whispered to me as we strolled along the boardwalk. She later died of cancer and I often hoped Drew was not shaken back into the mindset of fearing the ride.

My little boy squeals with joy as the colors fly by, the music peaks with intensity. I watch his face with such pride.

The past few weeks have been far from a merry go 'round for our extended family. It's been a terrible roller coaster ride, with death-defying turns and no end in sight. Our beautiful two year old niece is in the front seat, her health hanging in the balance. While her incredible parents cling onto her with unyielding strength and love, we've all been along for the ride. We all want her back on a more serene ride. And, thankfully, in recent days, there are glimmers that our niece has her sights set on the merry go 'round once again.

My little boy brings me back to this ride, here and now. He says to me, "Dah so fun, Mommy!" The merry go 'round spins around and around, he rides his horse up and down, the colors spin by in a dizzying dance, the music rises and falls. I lift his little hand and kiss it. "Yes, love, the merry go 'round is the best!"

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