Eve approached the Shamu Express attendant worried, a little scared of the ride but mostly scared of not getting to ride. She stepped toward the ruler as she’d done a handful of times before and stood tall to be measured. She looked straight ahead. She did not smile.
For two years Eve Adeline has wanted to ride the Shamu Express roller coaster in the kiddie section of Sea World, and for two years she has been too small. To a youngest child, no reality is so painful as being, yet again, the small one.
But today, today the attendant looked at my desperate daughter and said, “Woah. You’re big.” (I didn’t hear it myself, but that’s what Eve said he said and so I believe it.)
A smile bloomed on Eve’s face until her cheeks were so high I couldn’t see her eyes. When I finally saw her eyes again they were twinkling.
She and I and Justin and London boarded the Shamu Express and rode giddy for 30 seconds (the extent of the amusement).
A few minutes later Justin took London to ride a bigger ride, and Eve and I stayed in the kid’s area to ride Shamu again. We threw our hands in the air and laughed afterward at the picture they’d snapped as we came around the single curve.
We loved it. And so we rode again.
We rode the Shamu Express ten times in a row.
Eve’s joy never diminished. My joy in her joy didn’t either.
Thinking of it tonight I’m reminded of these words from G.K. Chesterton about children and about my beautiful, child-like God: