Saturday, September 8, 2012

It's Not a Date If We Don't Ride the Carousel!

Our Friday night date!

We started a tradition a while back with our little family.  Each Friday night we take our girls on a family date.  The girls know when Matthew walks in after school on Friday that he's home to take them out, I love how special they feel!  As our Friday nights slowly evolved into this tradition we talked of all the neat things we would do with the girls- movies, museums, picnics and concerts and hikes, our list was endless.  And then one Friday night we took Gracie to ride the carousel.  I still remember our first time there.  Gracie carefully selected a horse, then another horse, then another one until just the right one was found.  She giggled and waved at everyone!  Maddie, who was just a baby, and I enjoyed watching poor Matthew work to keep Gracie on the horse as she wiggled and jumped up and down.  That 2 minute ride was all it took for our endless list of Friday night date ideas to be shortened to “anything that can include a ride on the carousel”.  We love to try new restaurants and activities and the girls have a blast…but the second we start heading home without the carousel we hear Gracie from the backseat, “but it’s not a date, we didn’t ride the carousel!”  For a while we tried to talk her out of it but we’ve come to embrace it.  When Maddie was big enough to ride on her own horse it only made it more appealing.  Gracie insists they sit next to each other and hold hand and our easy to please Maddie happily goes along with it and just eats it up.  Our friends know they can find us there every Friday night...along with any holidays or birthdays or really anytime a celebration is called for (anything from a good test score to a new tooth to me cooking dinner). It doesn’t matter how many times we go, it doesn't get old, it's just what we do.

Over the last year a ride on the carousel has become much more than just a date night activity.  We have moved around quite a bit, we’ve spent 4 summers in different states for work and a winter semester away for an internship.  Our move to Portland this summer proved to be much more difficult for Gracie than our previous moves.  It was the first time she worried about whether or not we would be going back to our house.  She missed her toys and her bed and her little table.  Her friends and her cousins weren’t there, it was all so unfamiliar, and we just couldn’t seem to get her settled.  After she threatened to runaway to Utah (which was a frightening foreshadow to the drama that could be her teenage years), my sweet Matthew got us in the car and drove us, literally, all over Portland looking for a carousel.  We drove for nearly 2 hours before we found one operating.  I will never forget the joy on her face as she held her ticket and waited for her turn.  For some reason the familiarity of it did so much more to comfort her anxious mind than anything else we had done…and while she still didn’t like Portland, she at least agreed to stay.

We look forward to our night out with the girls every week.  It’s our time to slow down from busy schedules and enjoy each other…and we know the first time they don’t demand the carousel it will absolutely break our hearts!

A few of our favorites!

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