The Greatest Show on Earth

(Originally posted April 6, 2010 on blogspot.)

I’ve wanted to be a Mommy for a long time. For the past several years I’ve daydreamed about taking special family trips to the park or the beach or the zoo. And since I’ve been so anxious for so long, our little Lily is occassionally taken on such trips prematurely. It doesn’t hurt anything, of course, but it can be a little bit of a Mommy let down when my ten-month-old doesn’t run to the slide or say “Look, Mommy! A monkey!”

But I’m usually able to be fairly reasonable about Lily’s reactions to things. So when my Dad bought us all tickets to the Ringling Brothers Circus at Madison Square Garden, I prepared myself for a grouchy, sleepy baby who wouldn’t sit still.

What I got instead was the greatest show on Earth.

The moment we entered the arena, Lily clapped her hands. She could hear the music and see the lights and sense the excitement. Ryan and I took her down to the floor for the pre-show where she looked with a gaping mouth at the stilt walkers and jugglers and balloons. And once the show started, she alternated between sitting on her Daddy’s lap, awestruck, and standing on his lap with uncontainable excitement- jumping up and down, clapping her hands, and squealing in delight.

Who knows what she was thinking. I doubt it was “wow, how do they practice riding seven motorcycles in a cage without crashing?” But whatever the thought behind it, she loved it.

The circus was pretty cool for the grown-ups, too. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised by the singing, and the scene changes along with the amazing acrobats and elephants. But my favorite moment of the day was when Lily, after fighting to stay awake for thirty minutes, cuddled up on her Daddy’s lap, looked at me with a giant smile, and completely zonked out, still smiling in her sleep. A few weeks or months from now I might not remember what happened in the center ring. But I will always remember that face.

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