Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Apples and Trees

Over the weekend my husband and I loaded up our kids—and his mom—and drove out to the Fredericksburg Fair. It’s a staple of our summer and a small event before the Virginia State Fair in September.

The kids love strolling through the petting zoos. For a dollar the attendant gave us a bag of thin-sliced carrots and we’d stop every few feet to allow some greedy goat to eat one from our hand. Then we browsed through the prize winning chicken and rabbit section, every other cage answering Abby’s request for a new pet the same way: No.

Temperatures in Virginia have not been kind to us this summer. After walking around in 105 degree heat all day, we were ready to cool off. Rumors of a misting tent had been spread throughout the fair grounds. So we went in search of the mythical slice of heaven, and when we found it we were not disappointed. Every one of us ran through. It was cold and refreshing and dried almost the instant we stepped out.

Abby decided to soak herself thoroughly. She jumped up and down in the pool of water under her feet, splashing everyone around her.

No one seemed to mind.

While we waited for Abby to finish her “bath”, three teenage girls approached the cooling tent and my OMG radar buzzed.

All of the girls wore scantily clad clothes, but one of them stood out more so than the others. She fashioned cut off jeans, revealing the bottom of her . . . well . . . bottom. Making matters worse, she wore cowboy boots up to her knees and her shirt was rolled up under her bra. To put it bluntly, she was dressed to impress . . . the wrong crowd.

My mother-in-law and I exchanged glances.

“I’d kill my kids if they ever dressed that way,” I said.

She sipped her bottle of water, watching the future star of 16 and Pregnant out of the corner of her eye the entire time. “They never would. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. My guess is her mother doesn’t care.”

I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. “Maybe she changed after she left the house. I cannot imagine anyone letting their daughter out like that.”

“I hope you’re right.” Meaning, I know you aren’t.

Grabbing Abby—otherwise she would have stayed in the water all day—I dragged my family away from the ridiculously dressed girls and we visited the cows. They mooed us away—okay, I just wanted to write that. I thought it was cute.

The cows were the last stop before the rides.

Abby’s eyes got all big and round and she tugged her daddy’s hand. “Can we go on the rides now?”

He looked at me for an approval and I sent them on their way. Glowing green wrist-bands glued around their arms gave them an all-access pass to ride everything as many times as they wanted—they’d be gone for awhile.

Since I had the baby, my MIL and I scoped out a shaded area and parked our butts there and chatted. It didn’t take long for the teenage girls to pass us by—it’s a small fair and they were making their rounds—but instead of continuing on, they stopped.

Parents! They were talking to their parents.

My MIL and I exchanged glances again. Dammit, she was right! The “tree” was at least wearing clothing that covered her, but we could tell she was a wild child. She had red hair on top of blonde hair and tattoos everywhere. She smoked, she smiled at her daughter, she had her daughter spin around for her—she thought the girl was gorgeous.

The lot of them walked off together, disgusted looks flashed in their direction from every passerby. MIL and I had a lengthy discussion about what to do if my daughters ever drifted to the “dark side”, then we continued our business of people watching.

We eventually had to find Abby and her daddy; after an hour it was obvious they weren’t going to stop on their own. The dog show provided our last bit of entertainment before we headed home. Abby wore a brand new cowgirl hat on her head and the baby conked out as soon as she got in the car. All-in-all it was a fun and informative day—for my daughters sake’s, I will always choose my clothes wisely.


  1. The best predictor of a child's success is her parents' successes and how such successes are displayed for the child. I believe this.

    But I'm also a parent now, so I reserve the right to change my mind down the road. :D

    Good post, Krystal! Glad you had such a fun weekend with the fam.

  2. Haha. I'm going to remember that, Jason, if your kids ever become rebels! I'm scared. I was not a good teenager. If my daughers turn out anything like me now, fine, but if they went through what I did...I'm in trouble.

  3. You're assuming I'm not a rebel. My work here is done. (And they said I'd never make it as an actor!)

  4. Ha. Rebel at heart, but not on the outside. ;-)

  5. I was going with the "Parents didnt know viewpoint" as well.I have heard stories of parents that are surprised to find out what their kids wear. I always used to say - well "I know all the tricks" so my kids wont get away with anything...but somedays I dont know. Your right though, best thing is to try your best to teach them by example.

  6. Dave, if they'd asked what we were looking at, my MIL is just the type of person to tell them exactly what she was looking at. It could have been a really bad day at the fair. ;-)

  7. Never mind the girls, I just can't believe a misting tent exists!!LOL Sounds like Abby had everyone under control, so I guess she takes after her....(see don't even have to say you and you know it)

  8. Hahaha. Nice one, Louise. You know me all too well. Have you ever heard of a misting tent?

  9. Anonymous8/03/2011

    Great blog, loved reading about your fete, so different than ours. I'm sure I would love your MIL she sounds like a woman after my own heart LOL

  10. Just came back from school shopping with my 13 yr old, and I was constantly saying, "Take that off and put it back on the hanger!" I got the whining, "But Mommm!" This girl you describe sounds eerily similar to what my child tried to pull over on me a few times today. :)

  11. Children will, I expect, always seek some way to push their boundaries. Those moments can't really be avoided, just dealt with in a manner of respect and fair discipline. But definitely, the groundwork starts at home. Parents are the first role models a child has, and so much is learned from that in those formative years.

  12. My only experience with a misting tent was at the 1992 World's Fair and Expo in Seville, Spain. They are awesome!! As for the Nearly Nakeds, I guess there's some comfort in knowing my kids won't have me role modeling anything like that. But - six kids later - what I wouldn't give for the body to pull it off! LOL!

  13. What struck me here was that one moment when the mom spins her daughter around:

    "...she had her daughter spin around for her—she thought the girl was gorgeous."

    Do your daughters feel they're gorgeous?

  14. Absolutely my 4yo believes herself to be God's gift to this planet. She truly is. ;-) and I'm going to make sure she continues going through life thinking that...while fully clothed.


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