Sawyer, who is merely weeks away from turning 12 and desperately trying to assert his dominion over tweendom, claimed to not be interested in attending the circus last night. “It’s always the same,” he complained as he tried to convince me he should be left home to enjoy some solitude, which undoubtedly would translate in to undisturbed video gaming with no annoying parental time restrictions. His complaint made me wonder just how frequently he attends the circus, and more intriguing, with whom, as we haven’t been to one years? Does he have some secret family we don’t know about? Like those men who are featured on 20/20 who suddenly drop dead one day, and three wives with young children in tow show up for his funeral, head for their rightful seat in front row, and are shocked to find other wives and families there claiming the husband as their own, one, true leader of their exclusive family unit. Does Sawyer have another family that takes him regularly to the circus? Does he have another, entirely secret life?
I would go with a big “No” on that one. After all, according to him, we are helicopter parents. Or as he calls us, and claims EVERYONE knows and calls us, “The NO Parents.” When would he have the unscheduled time to be cultivating another family? When are we not hovering over his every move? Pish-posh.
So, I dragged him along to the Ringling Brother’s Barnum and Bailey Circus’ Greatest Show on Earth with our family, as guests of the Starlight Children’s Foundation, and hoped the tween mope would lighten once he was faced by indignant, over enthusiastic clowns with falling pants that revealed boxer shorts covered in hearts, mighty elephants ridden by lavishly adorned, waving women, and death-defying acrobats.
The fabulous thing about the circus is there really is no particular demographic to which they are catering. Many young adult couples, seniors, groups of middle-aged women on a big ‘girls night out,’ as well as families with children, filled the arena. The acts appeal to everyone. Who can resist women twirling by their hair over your head, men with 6 pack abs playfully leaping over each other or stacking themselves into breathtakingly high human pyramids, three spandex clad young women contorting themselves into a small glass box together, or a strong man holding up 1237 pounds in the form of barbells, women dangling from the barbells, men on chairs on the barbells, and a goat? Ageless, genderless, timeless entertainment.
Sawyer was helpless to resist the pull, energy, and magic of the show. He was beaming — mesmerized by the first act, like everyone else there, as carousels of ethereal acrobats spun from the rafters, swinging on and off of giant, suspended rings, ropes, swings, and one another. It was a beautiful, air born dance. And Sawyer was transformed from the now-eats-three-dinners every night tween he’s become to simply — human. Clown wig wearing, hot dog scarfing, soda slurping, mugging for the camera, ohing, gasping, circus happy human.