Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Circus time!

Last weekend before the madness of moving hit, we took the kids to see The Greatest Show on Earth. That’s right Followers, the “family” circus was back in town! I posted about taking Alli to her first circus just over two years ago when she had just turned one, but now it was Aiden’s turn to go take in the spectacle that is the Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus for the first time. In addition to taking our kids, my brother’s wife came to town and brought their two kids as well. I don’t recall if their oldest has been to the circus before, but you can never see the circus too many times.

I was a little worried about taking Aiden to the circus, as he doesn’t get quite as entranced with things the way Alli did at that age. If something caught her attention that she really liked, she could sit there for hours and just look at it, taking it all in. An almost-two-year old boy doesn’t work quite like that… So needless to say I was a little anxious to see how everything was going to play out. Luckily, we had reinforcements – Tatsy, Aunt Bacon and a friend of Mommy B’s came with us to help corral the kiddos for the duration. I wasn’t worried about Alli, as she’ll sit and watch full-length movies now without batting an eye. Ah, how times have changed since having to swap out Elmo’s World every 22 minutes.

But all my nerves were put to rest when the lights went out and the music started. The kiddos were completely spellbound once all the performers started coming out to do their various acts. All the lights, colors, sounds and sights were enough to keep their attention for an extended period of time. Basically all I had to do was keep handing Aiden snacks (go figure) and he would just sit in my lap or the seat next to me and just stare. During one section of the performance, he must have really liked the music as he got up on his seat and started to dance. He also got really excited when the elephants came out to do their stunts. He held his arm up to his nose like a trunk and did his best elephant sound. It was adorable to watch… just like when we took Alli for the first time.

I don’t know how they do it, but the folks that run the erstwhile family circus now really know how to put on a show. They have acts and find performers that simply amaze me every time I go… and that’s saying something coming from someone who’s been going to the circus for the past 30 years. Not to mention I’ve read a few books on the subject, so being able to impress someone who’s ancestors started the friggin’ thing is quite the accomplishment. Even if I didn’t have kids to take, I would go just because of the pure entertainment value.

All in all, it was a great afternoon had by all. Alli was a saint just watching the show and munching on popcorn, and Aiden behaved himself long enough to make it through the show. Every time we go, I always think about how the performers and management are oblivious to the fact that there are actual Ringling descendants in the audience. When we walk in, there’s no backstage entrance or special viewing section. And when we walk out, we have to walk past the protesters who claim the animals in the show are abused – just like everyone else. Yes, we have to pay full price for our tickets. No, I didn’t punch any of the protesters. But my mom flipped them the bird… which was entertaining to see.

I remember taking Alli to her first show, and trying to describe the overwhelming feeling of pride I had seeing her face as she watched. Well, I got to experience that feeling again this past weekend as I watched Aiden witness everything for the first time. Hopefully one day they’ll get to share that same feeling with children of their own. And if not, I just hope they can appreciate what their ancestors started over a century ago and see that their dreams still live on in the smiles of the millions of people that attend each year.

My family has always been a clan of entertainers, and that’s exactly what the circus aims to accomplish. Well guys,
mission accomplished. Can’t wait to go back the next time you’re in town.

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