Our little family trip to the State Fair last week was a big ol’ bust.

Marc and I spun our wheels for hours trying to make two cranky little people happy. And it didn’t help that the place was packed, with ridiculous lines and hardly any room to move. Our stroller is so old that the straps began to disintegrate, and once Sophie figured that out, she tore out every single one. Needless to say, we pushed an empty stroller for much of the morning (while at the same time trying to wrangle a fearless and speedy little girl).

The worst part for me was the overwhelming disappointment I felt for the girls, especially Lily. She had talked for WEEKS about riding the ferris wheel. She was too scared to ride it last year, but she was more than ready this time around. Lily would have waited in that line for an hour. But we just couldn’t make it happen, with Sophie the Loose Cannon and our desperation to get home in time for her nap.

My heart was so heavy when we left. I know it sounds silly. But I just couldn’t get over the fact that we weren’t able to give Lily something so simple.

So the wheels began spinning, and by the time we got home, I’d figured out a plan to take her back, just the two of us. Of course a million other things had to fall in place for my little plan to work, but I was determined.

Then later that evening, in one of those moments that the universe confirms Marc and I are meant to be, my sweet husband pitched his plan: We go back to the fair. As a family. And we ride that ferris wheel.

We chose a weekday evening, in hopes that the crowd wouldn’t be so bad (it wasn’t). And we kept the trip a surprise from Lily. Marc had her guessing the whole way from school to the fairgrounds.

Her glee was contagious.

She gazed up at the ferris wheel from our spot at the front of the (short) line. And when our little cart crept up toward the sky, both girls squealed. The sun had just begun to set, and the fairgrounds were all lit up. Lily clung to her dad, happy as a clam. And Sophie even sat on her butt for the entire ride.

Magic.

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