For as long as I can remember, every shopping trip in our local mall has ended in Brent and I fishing out the R5 coins so that Hamish could insert them into the bright children’s rides that scatter along the mall, like circus clowns waiting to pounce on you in bright bellied laughter.
Hamish loves them. He loves the carnival sounds and the silly cartoons printed onto everything from fire trucks to seals.
And, naturally, we love the way his big blue eyes light up and his little mouth forms an expression of delight as the ride moves, or turns or lunges forward.
Those few minutes of innocent, childlike fun and joy are worth all the R5 coins in our wallets.
A ban on rides
Obviously, during the covid waves, these rides were banned for fear of infection spreading. Not that I would have let Hamish climb onto one even if I’d washed it down in sanitizer.
We also stopped going to the malls. No longer were malls a place of enjoyment. They became a war zone of germs as we sanitized and masked up just to buy bread or one or two essentials that we couldn’t have delivered.
For almost 2 years, the laughter stopped. The rides sad silently. No longer enjoying the sweet sound of children’s laughter.
A trip to the mall
Last week, I made my first relaxed, stroll through the mall. I went window shopping and visited some of my favourite stores without the irrational fear of Covid germs jumping on me.
We ate at the local coffee shop without me rushing our food out and spraying sanitizer on everyone.
But more importantly, I stopped at the bright rides, armed with R5 coins. My intention was to bring back some of our previous normality. To enjoy things we once took for granted and to let Hamish ride the rides.
All grown up
And ride them he did. . . .
First, he climbed on a barrel with an odd-looking clown and was quite upset that the baby songs ( nursery rhymes) were playing. The ride was slow in its circular tilts and boring to a now 5-year-old.
Next, he rode the carousel with 2 other kids, but this too was boring and he couldn’t wait to get off, claiming it as a very slow ride.
Lastly, he chose a train. That he has loved and his now long legs didn’t fit comfortably. The train was slower even than the carousel and the track uneventful. He tried to climb off mid-ride and we abandoned the rides as we knew the others would get a similar response.
Being 2 and a half when he last rode these, the rides were now outdated, boring, slow, and no longer held that innocent childhood magic.
I understand. Our children outgrow things daily. They have to in order to grow up.
For us moms, we never know when that last day will be. You never know when it will be the last time your child needs you to tuck them in, hold their hand or put them on a cheap R5 mall carousel ride.
So, enjoy the moments. Take the photos and imprint the memories in your mind …
Today could be the last time mamma.