For all of those parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles that watched their children, grandchildren, and other relatives graduate from kindergarten, elementary school, high school and college recently…
When my girls were “stroller age,” we went to the nearby mall often. Not so much to shop but for entertainment. In the middle of our mall was a big carousel. My oldest daughter loved to ride it (and my less adventuresome second daughter liked to watch her older sister ride it.) We even had a ticket book. (Today it would probably be a plastic card like you get at the grocery store, Panera Bread or CVS – but back then it was a ticket book.) I think it was three quarters every time she would ride but with the ticket book, we got a “deal.”
It was a sad day for us when progress came to the mall and they removed the carousel to make room for more theaters. But then they added a dinosaur themed play area that offered us a cool place to let the kids play while the moms visited. And it was free. No ticket book required.
Every time we went to the grocery store I would bribe the girls with a “pony ride” when we left if they behaved while I was shopping. The girls would be thrilled to scramble up on the ponies and gently rock for a whole minute while some distorted music played. If I were in a hurry (or didn’t have quarters) they would still climb on and pretend to ride the pony.
Quarters in the vending machines at Cici’s Pizza would thrill them with a rubber ball, a gooey hand or a “tattoo.” They liked that better than the pizza.
A few quarters would keep the girls entertained and happy.
Recently I was at the mall with my now teen daughters. After hours of shopping, we went to the food court to grab a bite to eat. They hurriedly ate their food and then were off for more shopping. As I lingered, I watched the kids in the play area. They seemed content to run and shout. Then I looked over and saw a little girl begging her daddy to let her ride in the quarter fed car. He plopped a few quarters in and she smiled as she pretended to drive for about sixty seconds.
As I watched the kids run and play and enjoy the “rides” at the mall, it took me back to those days when my little girls were that age.
Oh, life was simple then. It didn’t seem simple. It seemed hectic and stressful. But as I think of what life is now with two girls in college and one just a few years away, three teenage drivers, and an outfit “needed’ for each occasion, I realize that life was a lot easier when they were little. A few quarters and they were content.
But I wouldn’t trade it. I love watching the young ladies my girls are becoming. Yes, the trips to the mall and grocery store are a LOT more expensive but it is worth it.
Enjoy the moment. Whatever moment that is.