By Stacy Johnson
My kids are notorious for using the phrase, "OK, hold on," when I ask them to do something. I might say, "I need you to get your room cleaned." Their response is usually, "OK, hold on." I could even say, "Hey, if you will go right now and open the dishwasher, there is a million dollars in there." You know what my kids would say? "OK, hold on."
Recently, we attended a carnival to raise money for our football league. It was warm when we started, but we enjoyed some yummy fried foods, snow cones, soda, and visiting with friends. The best part for the kids were the jumpy things, the inflatable kind that you slide down, bounce on, and race your friends in the obstacle course on. They were having a blast. The sun finally went down and it cooled off only slightly. But, when you're a kid, somehow the heat doesn't bother you like it does adults.
So, I was getting tired, I was hot, and not having a great time holding the sweaty baby who only wanted me to nurse him or walk around with him for the last three hours. So, since it was almost time for the carnival to end, I ventured back where the jumpy things were and started gathering my kids. I found my nine year old and told her to head back to our shade and start packing up, but not before she found her seven year old sister and tell her it was time to go. I then found my 10 year old neighbor who had come with us and told him to find my 11 year old and head back to the shade. With that, I turned and started back towards the shade. At about 10 steps, the wind picked up and brought the smell of rain with it. I walked past one lady and we both said it at the same time, "Can you smell the rain?" I continued walking to my shade.
My nine year old daughter was a few steps ahead of me and I yelled at her to run and tell the older boys to put the shade down before the wind picked it up and blew it away. She took off running. It hadn't been 90 seconds since I told the kids it was time to leave before I noticed the wind had picked up considerably . Knowing the older ones had the shade and our chairs, the crib, blankets, and ice chest ready to move, I turned to make sure the others were behind me. As I turned, I noticed one of the jumpy rides take flight. The wind had swept it up and carried it 25 feet to the fence and slammed against it. At the same time, a rented light tower caught the wrath of the jumpy and went rolling. It all seemed like it was in slow motion too, like something you see in a scary movie.
I quickly gathered my children who had heeded my request to leave the jumpies and had them haul our belongings to the nearby truck and take the babies and sit and wait for me. While a dozen or so adults ran to the aid of the jumpies and the children in that area, I found someone to lower the remaining light towers and turn them off while I headed over to see if I could help some vendors put their stuff away. There was little to be done there, so I headed back to the jumpies and helped deflate and roll them so they wouldn't blow anymore and assess the damage.
Luckily, not seconds after I asked my children to leave, the adults manning the inflatable rides began evacuating them and getting children down as fast as they could. Unfortunately, one child was still on top when a gust of wind took the first ride and the child with it. We later found out that he escaped with a few bumps and bruises. The light tower took down a coach with it, but he too, was relatively unhurt. The pelting rain that stung my skin was the only pain I suffered as we closed down the festivities.
About half an hour later, in the car, all of us soaking wet, I turned to my children and thanked them for being obedient the first time I had asked and then I asked them if they understood that there can be good consequences and bad consequences. I explained that this was a good consequence, that they were safe from being injured on those rides because they came when I asked them to. We offered a prayer of gratitude for our safety and a blessing on the little injured boy and on our journey home. It was a night I will remember for a long time and so will my children.