This past weekend was Carp Snow Days, our local winter carnival put on by the Huntley Community Association. It's a lot of fun, and always well run. Skating, horse-drawn sleigh rides, broomball games, etc. It culminates Saturday night with a spaghetti dinner and family dance at the Mess Hall. The dinner is always yummy, and cheap, and the dance is really for the kids. They hire a DJ who comes with lots of coloured lights and a fog machine, and a pile of kid-friendly dance music. And bless their hearts, they open up the bar, so that the parents can hang out and catch up with friends and neighbours over a beer and watch while the kids dance themselves into a frenzy on the dance floor.
Leah was especially looking forward to the dance because there are prizes. Yep, prizes for spot dances, and best robot dance and first kid to freeze when the DJ says 'freeze', and so on.
It had been a pretty long day. Rae was getting over a stomach flu that had kept her throwing up all Thursday night into the wee hours of Friday morning. We had gone out for the sleigh ride and the two-hour family skate in the afternoon. We headed over to the dinner around 4:30 (they served from 4:30 til 6:30), met my friend Julie and her daughter Mackenzie, ate dinner and the girls were raring to go when the DJ started up the music. They danced. They ran wild. They had a ball.
But the bloom was off the rose by about quarter to seven. Rachel was overtired from all the activity and had started to cry. The music was too loud, she wanted to go home. Leah, intent on winning a prize, wanted to stay. I was worried about Rae so I said that we had to go home. Now both girls were wailing. Rachel, because I wasn't moving fast enough to go home; and Leah, because she wanted to stay.
I helped stuff two crying girls into snow boots and jackets and led them out to the car. When we got there, Rachel had a full-blown hysterical meltdown because she had left her stuffed kitty in the hall. So I turned back to the hall, with both girls still crying full bore. As we reached the door, Julie came out. She offered to keep Leah with her so that she could stay at the dance. I asked Leah if that's what she wanted and she said yes, and almost stopped crying. I said thanks to Julie and we all went back inside.
I found the kitty under the table we'd been sitting at and handed it to Rachel, who had stopped crying and was looking around. "Mom," she said, "I feel better now. I want to stay and dance." I rolled my eyes. "OK," I said, "I guess we're staying then." You know, trying to be the nice, accommodating mom. "Yay," sniffled Rachel, half-heartedly.
"Mom," whispered Leah, up on tiptoes to get her mouth next to my ear, "I have to tell you something."
"I want to go home."
You just can't win.