My parents and kid brother came down last weekend to visit. Which was about the most exciting thing in the world for me, other than Beyonce coming over to paint my toenails or something. BUT, I got to experience Lagoon from the mind of a 12 year old. Because I realized, after going on my first crazy ride with him where I immediately felt light-headed and very aware my non-12 year old body, that it was less about the thrill of the theme park that provided the experience for me, and more about how the experience was being processed through this little person's mind.
Someday, birthing little person's and watching them interpret the world is going to be SO FUNNY! And also sweet and tender and heart-flappy yada yada.
So, I tried to type out specific conversations with my bro, but the more I did, the more I realized how offensive this post would become because it was mostly about my brother's impersonations of an old person dying on every single ride we stood in line for. Like his thoughts on old people using the ferris wheel as their final ride of life, because it's so boring and long, and then they just let their dead body fall from the sky, as we both turn around to look at the ferris wheel just in case dead bodies happened to be falling in that moment. (Aaaand, now I can see even more that I should not have shared the private conversations between me and my Lil B).
But oh my gosh, that kid makes me laugh so hard. Like the time he, myself, and my dad were wedged into the Scrambler, and as we're flying around in rapid circles, and my hair is batting them in the face, Brennan starts doing doll hands. Or the time, we ran to the Haunted House ride, first wondering why all the people coming out of the ride looked completely apathetic or nearly angry, but then as soon as we enter the ride, Brennan's hands immediately go up to his face and he starts shrieking, rapidly looking back and forth at all the things jumping out. I'm laughing so hard - "Are you just messing around or are you really scared?" Then a skeleton drops from the ceiling and we grab hands screaming. Then the ride bursts through the final doors, and we are both bellowing from laughter, not even concerned with the 80 people in line dead-locked watching us.
And after a full day of forcing our bodies into extreme vertigo, he and I tromped back to our blanket in the black of night, feet throbbing, and plopped down while my parents finished their show somewhere else in the park. I asked him about his favorite movies, and candy bars, and friends. Because every person who ever talks to a child just asks them incessantly what their favorite things in life are. Oh wait, I think I'm confused with college dating...
Anyway, my Lil B tells me all the time that I'm his best friend. And I used to egg him on quite like a puppy doing a trick, "c'mon, who's your favorite, little guy, who is it?" And he'd say everyone else's name while I tickled him until he'd finally say, "YOU ARE!" And I just thought it was because I always made him laugh so much. Which is my favorite thing because it's so easy to get him giggling. But as he's gotten older, he's started to ask more serious questions about why people at school do weird things, or why people are mean the way they are, or just wanting to confide in me. And then he'd always say, "I just want to be fun like you. You're my best friend. That's all."
So I ask my mom when he's not around what all this means. Sure, falling dead bodies from a ferris wheel seems like a normal 12 year old thought. Maybe. But what of this "best friend" stuff?
My mom tells me, "Chantel, you play with him and connect with him in a way no one else does. You have always been one of our most.... entertaining children, and you make sure he knows you love him by giving him all your attention and listening to him. Since you were just 3 years old, you built the same relationship with Devin for the same reasons. Your brothers just love the fun and kind person that you are!"
And then my mom and I had this real conversation, as we rode the gondola repeatedly overtop the park, about how my perception of myself is not always that clear because I experienced someone very close to me putting me in front of a very distorted mirror long ago. It's refreshing to be around people who place me in front of a true reflecion.
And it's refreshing to ride roller coasters until you are scared to even look in a mirror.
Here's to the love of a family! To true mirrors. To a life I'm happy to be in. And to Beyonce.
Upward and onward,
And if you want to see what a roller coaster ride looks like through the lens of my iPhone... Well, now's your chance:
Oh, and I grew a unibrow. Been working on it for awhile.
Oh wait. Don't leave yet. I have more crappy iPhone photos that I HAVE TO SHOW YOU.
My Instagram recap of the weekend, focused on the Lagoon moments with my pops: