I loved amusement parks as a kid (the scarier the ride, the better) so I was super excited to take Mazzy to her first kiddie park. I figured she was too little to go on most of the rides but at least she'd ride the carousel and kick some ass at Wack-A-Mole.

Then the ticket booth lady said Mazzy could go on ALL BUT TWO of the rides.

REALLY? Are you sure you are not mistaking my kid for the fourteen-year-old with the neck tattoo behind me?

Yes, she was sure.

We started easy with a train that went around in a circle at .00000002 miles per hour. I rode next to Mazzy with my arm laid over her lap just in case she tried to wriggle free from the seatbelt, jump out action-movie-style and scream “Thomas!” before running headfirst into the front car.

Miraculously, she sat still, smiled big and grasped the steering wheel in front of her for the entirety of the ride.

Next we moved on to a boat ride, which she rode with her dad. Surprisingly, there were no head first dives into one foot of water. All went well.


With two successes under our belt, we got more adventurous and tried the plane ride, the big slide and the mini roller coaster. Mazzy emerged alive and happy after each one and suddenly I had visions of future mother-daughter upside-down roller coaster rides, alpine slide races and sharing a tube in the Tunnel of Terror at Splish Splash.

I thought about how much different I was going to be from my own mother, who’d sit on the sidelines waving and snapping pictures no matter how much I begged her to come along. “Go with your dad, " she'd always say. "I belong on the ground."

At the end of the day, we had one more ride ticket left. I decided to take Mazzy on an innocuous looking thing called "The Happy Swing" (see below).

I sat beside Mazzy on the seat as the ride operator lowered the bar. Then I put my hand on her leg (just to be safe) and we were off.

The swing started slow and steady. I yelled “whee!” on each downward motion, just in case Mazzy was unaware that we were having fun.

Then the swing picked up speed.

Faster, higher, back and forth. Faster, higher, back and forth.

Hmmm. This seems a bit more dangerous than it did from the ground.

Faster, higher, back and forth.

I found myself gripping Mazzy’s leg to make sure she stayed put.

Faster, higher, back and forth.

Suddenly, I felt my stomach drop as if someone had just pushed me off the side of a cliff.

Faster, higher, back and forth.

My brain rattled inside my head as my fingers practically bore holes into Mazzy’s thigh.

Faster, higher, back and forth.

We were going to be thrown from the swing. I was sure of it.

Faster, higher, back and forth.


Faster, higher, back and forth.

I tried not to puke as I angled my head to make sure my baby wasn't crying.

She looked like she was in a state of shock— staring straight ahead, her brow furrowed as her hair whipped wildly above her. I was positive that if she survived the ride, this would be our first and last trip to the amusement park. She would forever be the little girl scarred by a crazy mother’s overzealous decision to take her on the most nausea-inducing ride in the park.

“Don’t worry, sweetie, it will be over soon!”

Finally, the swing began to slow and my hand loosened it’s grip on Mazzy’s leg. My stomach tried and failed to settle back into place as the ride screeched to it's upchuck-worthy end.

I looked at my 21-month-old daughter, prepared to plead forgiveness and assure her that this was the last time Mommy would ever place her in harm's way.

“Babe, are you ok???”

Mazzy was expressionless, still staring straight ahead. I touched her leg gently.

“Mazzy, it’s over, I promise.”



Then her eyes sparked to life and both arms flew up over her head.


In that moment, I became my mother.

Go with your dad. I belong on the ground.


Have you taken your kids to a kiddie park? Did it turn you into your mother? Or is there another "OMG I've Become My Mother" moment you'd like to share?