The man I prefer to be rides the kiddie rides with his kid

Here’s the post I started to write, but waited too long to post:

Someday, my son won’t want to do those childish things that bring him so much joy for only a few dollars. When I’m riding the mechanical elephant with him in circles around the kiosks at the mall, or standing next to him on the carousel, he’s thrilled. Maybe he’ll remember these things when he’s older, maybe not. 

But every time I do something like that with him, he’s reminded a little bit more that Daddy loves him, that Daddy wants him to have fun, that life is something to enjoy.

At some point, he’ll be big enough that he can ride by himself, but may still want me behind him. 

But eventually, he’ll insist on riding on his own, which I’ll have to let him do. 

And later, he’ll either be too big to fit or won’t want to ride anymore. I can’t stop that from happening someday. The best I can do is ride behind him while he’ll let me.

A showing of confidence

The reason I say I waited too long is that yesterday, at the zoo, while strolling confidently toward the newly installed carousel, the attendant asked if I would be riding with him. My son looked at her and declared, “I want to go by myself.”

And there, just like that, on a sunny afternoon that smelled of sunscreen and bison dung, he took a step away. Maybe it’s because this carousel is smaller than the one at the mall, and the saddles here are easier to climb onto. Maybe it’s because we went to Disneyland last week, where the rides were faster and higher, and he learned he doesn’t always need Mommy and Daddy to feel secure as long as he has a safety belt. Maybe it was because he’s getting older and more confident, which means we’re doing our jobs as parents. 

None of that mattered as I watched him mount the fiberglass horse and wave proudly. I was sort of afraid he’d fall off the horse, but I was more dejected that he was riding without me, sooner than expected, before I even had a chance to post my musings about how it would happen someday. 

But I’m grateful I got in all the rides I could with him before yesterday abruptly became someday.


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