Today I experienced something that brought to life and invigorated my senses. I tasted fine cuisine, smelled the country air, and stood in awe of creatures only seen up close by a few. Yes – I went to a country fair.
The Sandwich Fair…nope – it isn’t a fair where you can taste the world’s best sandwich. It is indeed in a town called, Sandwich, Illinois.
As soon as the kids and I hit the road and were soon surrounded by corn and soy bean fields, (which took like 2 minutes since I live in the bustling metropolis of Sycamore, IL), I began to feel sentimental about this beautiful farm land. About a minute after I prepared the speech in my mind about appreciating this beautiful land, (which my fortunate children would soon be hearing), James, my 13 year old said..”Illinois is so boring.” I get it. He wants to live in L.A. some day. He hates all bugs, and felt he needed to shower after walking through the swine exhibit. Although you never can be sure – I am sure he will never be a farmer.
Anyway….forget his disdain. I think it is beautiful. And I think we take it for granted. I grew up here. The land is flat, and yes, a bit boring at times. But because of the flat cornfield behind my house, I see the most amazing sunsets. The colors of soybean fields in the fall take my breath away. I love the smell of burning leaves, and rides out to the apple orchard.
If I couldn’t entice him with the charming road trip, I knew I could tempt his tummy with food only found at your local fair. We had corn dogs in hand within 5 minutes of entry.
By the way, I have recently decided to home educate these two for this year. We made life work for years this way, and it seems like the right thing to do again. To me, one of the greatest bonuses is days like today. There is no rushing. No one else’s time schedule. We can spontaneously take a field trip to the middle of nowhere for the best corn dog I have had in a while…just because we want to. Now that, James can get into.
By the end of our leisurely walk around this farm filled, salt of the earth place, we had consumed corn dogs, extremely sugary lemonade, funnel cake, and nachos covered in something that really didn’t resemble cheese and tasted oh so wonderful.
We walked through the dairy barn, and through the eyes of my 9 year old, I was fascinated by the size of those cows. Seriously – when is the last time you stood next to one? I know I sound like a city slicker – but holy cow! Pun intended.
At first I was embarrassed, feeling like a tourist as Charlotte wanted me to take pics of every animal she saw. I could feel the 4H kids rolling their eyes at me. Then I realized that is why we came. I go to things like a fair, to enjoy it through the eyes of my children. She has seen goats a thousand times. But today the goats were just as special to her as if she’d never seen one. That is the beauty of childhood. It is exciting every time. Adults are so boring.
She pointed out the beauty of some extra special “spots” on one of the cows. I would have never noticed had she not pointed it out. We walked through the petting zoo three times because she simply could not get enough. James and I bonded as I winked at him, and he smiled at me, knowing it was a wink of, “thanks for being patient, bud.” We also bonded over our discussion of the texture of funnel cake, and how on earth is fake cheese created? So it was all good and a great time was had by every age.
Supposedly I am here to teach my children life lessons. Without exaggeration, I truly believe they have taught me so much more about life than I have taught them. I hope they see the joy in my eyes when I smile at the little things, like petting a goat for the umpteenth time, or listening to reasons why the big city is better. I love it. They are each different, and I am so blessed to be their momma.