We were the circus at the circus. Christopher Nolan’s got nothin on us today. It was Circusception and I’m cringing thinking that people are loading videos from their phones onto their social media sites and my kids are the soundtrack.
Three screaming kids, who couldn’t even enjoy watching the fire department bathe some elephants. That mama elephant in the sun. She was weary and worn down and covered in dust from traveling. And I literally dragged Adelaide’s wheelchair through those same rutted out fields. Almost dumped my little girl when her chair went into a hole.
Kids were giggling at those elephants, as the fire fighters hosed them off. Graham fell on a stick, after I said, “Do not jump.” Blood trickling. His screams were louder than the commands from the elephant trainer. Adelaide crying. Graham screaming, as I attempt to make a band-aid from some gauze and a little girl’s sock.
Spectators trying to escape everyday lives by watching those dusty elephants turn and turn and drink and turn. And those phone cameras are all out. Kids posing adorably. Moms smiling. And my three kids are screaming and I can’t get to the van fast enough. I’m literally going as fast as I can. Dragging a wheelchair through a rutted out field. As weary as that mama elephant, and in desperate need of a shower. To wash off the field and the mom failure.
Because three dozen people are uploading their happy videos, and the Ballew Circus is in the background having a meltdown. And mama wasn’t excluded. At least the elephant sulked in silence. As I mumbled things under my breath and regretted leaving the house today. Loaded my hysterical crew into a vehicle parked between two perfect moms. One nursing, while her toddler silently sips a cup. The other ushering happy preschoolers. And then there’s us.
And I know deep deep down I’m not supposed to take everything so personally, but I wonder how they parent differently than I. What magic training and handling did I miss? Or are they just as dusty and weary, but know how to hide it behind big tents and cotton candy and glittering costumes.