Judah, Wesley and Malin came home last week, telling us that their whole school was going to the circus – today. They were very excited about it, but Avery was just a little bit sad. She told me several times, “I wish I was 6 – so I could go to the circus.” This morning I surprised her by telling her that the two of us were going too. It was so much fun to spend those hours with her.
We were sitting there in our folding chairs when the lights went out, listening to the circus music and watching the lions and tigers, and I actually had tears in my eyes. It was so ridiculous. A little 2-ring circus is nothing to get emotional about. But it wasn’t that really. It was being with Avery as she discovered this classic childhood experience. She told me on the way home, “I didn’t know that lions are really REAL.” We had a blue snow cone and blue cotton candy, and we found Judah, Wesley and Malin during intermission.
I have memories of seeing Barnum and Bailey’s circus in Asheville when I was growing up. That was a big deal. Afterwards I would spend hours looking at the circus program book – reading all about the performers and the animals. When JJ and Dawn were here, a little circus came to Jackson, and our family joined the excited crowd. It was my first experience with a small circus, and a huge letdown for me.
This time around, I knew what to expect. It took place in a school gymnasium, and it was free.
I’m not sure why it was free. When I looked it up on the web, there was an admission price. But after I parked the van, we walked in the side gym door (past a clown who I expected to ask for my money) and found ourselves a couple of seats. For the first half of the show, we were in folding chairs on the main floor. During intermission, a couple of school groups left, and we had a whole section of bleachers to ourselves.
One nice benefit of a small circus is that snacks and souvenirs cost less. And since I was expecting to pay admission and didn’t have to, I felt like I had money to spend. (My children appreciated that.) Avery chose a light-up butterfly thing that she could share with Malin later. When we got up at the end, we were over at the water fountain when she said, “Oh, my prize!” Oops. She had left her $4 souvenir lying on the bleachers. And you know what happens in that situation, right? In a gym full of kids? I knew that there was no way we were going to find the thing. But we walked over and searched anyway. Imagine my surprise when one of the circus performers (the lady that Avery had seemed the most fascinated with) walked up to us and handed Avery her butterfly wand.
She must have noticed the cute little girl in the empty section of bleachers and saved her toy just in case she came back to look for it. It was a happy end to our circus outing.