Miss C and I spent the afternoon under the big top with my dad Sunday afternoon. Actually the circus was held at the older than dirt Municipal Auditorium in downtown Nashville, a building that looks like something straight off the Jetsons.
This was the second year we’ve gone to the circus and to say Miss C was excited was an understatement. Being a mom unfolds an entire legion of things to be leary of, especially in this day and age as my mama says. Gripping her hand as we snaked through the crowd, I dared not lose my hold on her. She’s too “big” for one of those toddler chains, er, uh leashes, but when you’re in the churning mass of humanity at a public event doesn’t duct taping your child to your leg seem like a fine idea? And not to sound like a snob, but any type of circus/carnival/fair attraction just seems to bring out the best in a community if you know what I mean.
At intermission my dad and I tried coaxing Miss C into getting her picture made with a clown, but like last year she was spooked by a grown man wearing makeup offering her candy. And really, who can blame her? Last year’s photo op with a clown has me grinning away at the camera while Caitlin is clinging to my leg with a look of pure distress. But then this year she discovered the elephants. My 4-year-old, who was absolutely freaked out by the circus clowns, had no qualms about patiently standing in line for the chance to ride on the back of an enormous beast. Apparently she trusts animals more than people. And again, who can blame her?
We stood in line with other moms and kids adventurous (stupid?) enough to fork over $4 a pop for the chance to ride an elephant. Actually my dad paid for the tickets and being the photo opportunist I am I had him poised on the sidelines ready to take digital pictures as Miss C and I shared a mother/daughter elephant ride! As we climbed the ladder to mount the elephant it dawned on me that holy #@$% we are about to sit ON AN ELEPHANT. What if the elephant really hates the trainer leading it around the ring and decides to break free and head for the hills? Had the elephant been secretly reading animal activist pamphlets? I swallowed my fears, sucked it up, and hung on for a ride. I know Miss C will never forget it. And next year? We’re totally riding a camel.
Note: As we sat in the stands, the animal rights activist part of my mind naively wanted to believe that the animals that are trained to perform for this circus are treated well…very well. Things are so much easier when you’re too young to analyze everything.