The school Carnival on Friday night was a blast! I think most parents trudge around these things and take it as an obligation. I find it to be FUN! I have fond memories of my school carnivals when I was a kid. Giggling with my best friend Shellee and stalking the boys we liked. LOL! Eating bad foods and playing silly games. Same today. But, at this school, the kids were mostly little ones - I would guess mostly 4th grade and younger. Some older.
ANYWAY -- Chris went and got my mom, and the girls were thrilled to have Grandma with them all evening! She did really well, too, having brought her portable oxygen. There were no tripping mishaps at school (that I witnessed, anyway) and so I am really proud of the kids and adults who took some care with Grandma's "leash."
I volunteered at the dinosaur dig, where you dug through sand to find a plastic dinosaur or a plastic egg that contained a tiny dinosaur. I love sand. I spent a lot of time rearranging the sand with my hands. ;-) It needed to be moved. ;-) A volunteer has to do what a volunteer has to do, right? ;-) Ahhhhhhhh .... cool sand. This is probably as close as my body will get to a beach for quite some time to come. haha. My second favorite second grade teacher (May's teacher is my fav) ran the duck pond game right next to me. She is so pleasant. Very light-hearted, with a kind and joyful manner. She has two adorable daughters in May's class, too. So, it was nice to spend some time by her.
May had her heart SET on winning the Puzzle Crazy basket. That, or the Sports Fan basket. The Sports Fan basket was arranged in a nice folding chair with drink holders, and right on the top ... A PINK JUMP ROPE. Oh, how May longed for that jump rope. She positioned herself front and center as she watched the raffle drawing.
Have I mentioned that I think today's attitude that "everyone wins" is nuts??
I think it is healthy to learn to NOT get the prize, and to be able to be happy for the Winner and move on. Move on.
May did this last night better than she ever has before! So, good on her!
May and Janie got butterflies painted on their sweet faces. Irene got several temporary tattoos. They were all thrilled! May got into a very relaxed state as the PTA Mom (I call all school volunteers PTA Moms - I did not join the PTA this year, as we were still in China when the membership drive happened, and I spaced it once we were back home. Oops. I still consider myself a PTA Mom, though. LOL!) painted away. With all the tactile sensivity May has experienced in the past, it is truly amazing to see her so visibly comfortable with having her face painted. Poor shy Jane could just barely lift her face up enough to have it painted. She had a slight scowl on her face for most of the painting. But, when it was finished, she loved it! She is becoming so brave and even a tiny bit fierce! (She called me "Stupid Mommy!!" the other day, and I was sort of PROUD, in a weird way. But, she still had a consequence.)
Cotton Candy. Need I say more? Yum. I have always wanted to own a cotton candy machine. Is that funny, or what?? LOL!
So, the girls won all sorts of POS (Pieces of ... er ... Silliness) toys in the games, and did not win any baked goods in the Cake Walk, nor any basket(s) in the raffle. But, we had fun!!
Oh! And, I met a mom who made me feel a deep sense of sadness. You all know that I love my kids so much. They are my treasures! They are each such wonderful people! I am truly lucky, blessed, fortunate to get to be their mom. They are marvelous! My heart is FILLED with love for them. But, as we ate dinner at the school carnival, a mom near us started ragging about her life. She went on and ON and ON about how she has it so rough with her one son (he was sitting right beside her and appeared to be first grade aged. He was cute and well-behaved.). She said that people ask her if she will have more kids and she says, "Forget it! I have enough problems with THIS ONE. I am just now getting to do what I (IIIIIIII) want! I can ski and ride my bike and ....blah ... blah .... I am FORTY! FORTY! Why would I want more kids??? rag rag rag rag." She was from Brooklyn and had a LOUD and ok.... obnoxious ... voice. Sigh. I looked at her like she was NUTS. When she finally took a breath, I leaned over to her and told her that I was soon going to be FIFTY and I had THREE kids, 4, 5, and 7. And they are my treasures. She glanced around at my kids, and dismissively stated, "Well. GIRLS are different!!"
Yes, folks. I met a full-blown CRAZY WOMAN.
I did not debate with her. I did not berate her. I felt a deep sadness for her.
This was far beyond a bad day that she should have discussed with a friend (out of her child's earshot), and not a table filled with stangers. This was blindness. She was blind to her life.
Oh! I have to tell you ... before we left for the school, I heard Jane and Irene talking about all the rides they would go on! LOL! They talked about Ferris wheels and rollercoasters. LOL! Janie steeled herself and plotted who would ride with her. LOL! I stepped in and told them the carnival was inside at the school and there would be lots of games, but probably no rides. I love kids. I wish I could always so clearly observe what they think and plan.
While I was at Chinese school yesterday with the girls, my STAR of a husband TiVOed the Kentucky Derby for me!! I love horse racing! I really REALLY love thoroughbred racing!! When I was in my 20's and had first moved to Denver, my girlfriend Linda and I went to Centennial Race Track in Littleton on many sunny Sunday afternoons. That place was pretty urban and a little "gritty" with hardened Gamblers and trash, and noise, and GRIT! But, the sport was still awesome. I think that race horses are some of the most amazing atheletes on the face of the planet! Linda and I would go there and enjoy the sun, the horses, the ritual, the crowd. She and I always placed just the right bets to cover our admission, our parking, and our beers. We had great times together!
Many years later, Centennial was torn down. And, some years after that, the BEAUTIFUL Arapahoe Park was built in what was then waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out east of Denver. Way out east. WAY OUT EAST. I went to opening day and spent hours (no, really) driving on the single lane road that accessed the track. I had a date. He was a bigger horse racing fan than I was, and that is going some! That was a very pleasant day. I continued through the years to visit Arapahoe at least once a racing season. The atmosphere and environment was so different from Centennial! Arapahoe was clean, new, green, VERY family friendly! I remember taking May there several times when she was little. She loved it as much as I did! I never placed any bets when I had May with me. So, those days were the FEW ones where I left the race track in the red. LOL!! But, by then I no longer drank beer, either! LOL!
I sometimes ran into people I knew, and in particular the wife in a couple who were clients of mine. She is delightful and effervescent (have I mentioned that I write here with NO SPELL CHECK??) and I felt a strange mix of guilt and joy to run into her there. I mean ... I took my CHILD to a RACE TRACK! LOL! But, that is not how it is! Horse racing, in my experience, is a day in the sun, hanging around the paddocks watching the horses, and then CHEERING the races! All outside in the sun. FUN!
There is now a major highway that runs VERY close to the new race track. It does not feel so far FAR FAR out east of Denver. In fact, a couple of years ago, I sold a house just minutes from there! Amazing.
ANYWAY -- Chris TiVOed the Derby for me yesterday. (Did you think I would not bring you back after my stories/memories??) I always pick a favorite horse (or two) to cheer for. I have lots of silly criteria by which I pick my favs. They have to do with color, size, pull of head, gait, attitude, and whether or not I see them poop. I kid you not. Well, late last night as I picked my fav, ONE horse stood out for me. The filly! Now, mind you a filly has not won the Derby in 20 years and there has not even been a filly IN the Derby in 9 years! (Just 3 of 134 Derbies have been won by fillies!) But, I picked her (Eight Belles) for her head. Her gait. Her attitude. And, I did not see her poop. LOL! Her color was not quite right (I rarely pick a horse with gray in them!), but she had excellence in so many other areas.
I would have picked the horse who ultimately came in first, he was big and muscular and had the head and attitude! But ... I saw him poop. That counts him out, in my book. LOL! That, and he was heavily favored. I rarely go with the favorite.
SO. I picked my horse. And, settled back to cheer (in my head, as my entire family was asleep) my little filly. Imagine my JOY as she came in SECOND!!! I could hardly keep quiet! SO EXCITING! Imagine my sorrow as moments later, she was euthenized after having broken both front ankles in the race. I was crushed. I sat on my couch and wept. So emotional.
I wept this morning, relating it all to Chris over morning coffee.
Here is to Eight Belles, and to all who owned, trained, rode, and loved her as she RAN to such honor before her death. She proved that she could run with the Big Boys (19 of them!) and win a place of honor!
May we each run fast and hard before the end of our physical time on Earth.
Eight Belles (left, before placing Second) with Big Brown (who would be the 2008 Derby winner).
Eight Belles in the center, runnin' with the Big Boys!