The white spokes cut the sky, carving out little pieces of light blue cake slices in the air. It is a Saturday afternoon. I stand on the Navy Pier. The air is crisp, the smell of cinnamon roasted almonds, cotton candy, and saltiness of the ocean make their presence known. In the background, I hear voices of children yelling and laughing, while parents are hoping that the day’s activities means a guaranteed early bedtime for their kids. Peering through my black sunglasses, I shift my head back and forth in order to spot my daughter and husband. My eyes focus on each red chair struggling to identify where they are.
The small chairs wobble while the entire wheel moves in a steady cadence. I still cannot locate them. For a minute, I pause. Why didn’t get I get on? My daughter begged me to accompany her, but I hesitated. I dismissed her plea, partly because I did not want my anxiety to give birth to apprehension inside of her. I suspect I struggle to get on because it is linked to my fear of any physical sensation of change and the relinquishing of control.
Why do I insist on having this need for control? Why am I unable to let go? My grip on my camera tightens. I keep taking more pictures. Every shot is a reminder that the time captured will never materialize again. I will never recreate the same feeling, texture, or image of the previous picture.
I grab a seat and wrap my sweater around me. The air is now cold. The heaviness of the moment swallows me, but does not seem to penetrate anyone else. A young couple is kissing, another man is enjoying his margarita, two sisters are braiding each other’s hair, while I sit and contemplate my need to hold on to time. Are contemplating these moments preventing me from really experiencing the wholeness of what is happening?
Searching for my phone, I press speed dial. Just as I do so, I look up and my daughter is running toward me with the widest grin and laugh.
“How was the ferris wheel? ” I ask.
“It moved so slow Momma. So slow. I wanted it to go faster. I was not scared at all.”
The striking juxtaposition of our contrasting emotions is not lost on me. I am always reaching for slow-motion and she is running toward fast forward.
I hold on.
She lets go.