“This horse isn’t going to go up and down,” I told him.
He looked at me, a question reflected in his eyes.
This was the horse he had picked, the one he ran to when we entered the gate.
We were at the park with friends, and he’d spent all morning asking it if was time to ride yet.
Delayed gratification is hard for an almost-three year old.
I explained again. “It will go round and round, but not up and down. Some of the other horses will go up and down and round and round. This one will only go round and round. Are you sure you want to ride this one?”
I had to speak loudly for him to hear me.
He met my gaze and nodded.
Yes, this horse.
So, mindful of the baby riding on my hip in a sling, I lifted him with my arms, holding him away from my body.
I’m sure it looked awkward.
Another mom rushed over to offer her assistance.
I appreciated her offer, but I’ve gotten good at holding them both.
I settled him on his horse.
Strapped the safety belt around his waist.
And showed him the pole to hold onto.
Then I stepped closer, one arm wrapping around his back, the other snaking around the baby.
My hands met on the pole, above his.
Encircling them both.
As the notes of a march filled the air, we began to move.
Both of their eyes were wide as they watched the horses and the lights and the world twirling past.
She arched her back, trying to see more, a smile breaking free.
He leaned closer to her, amused by her antics.
He said her name, matching laughter on his face.
And I held them both.
Around and around we went.
The three of us.