Roar While You Can

I picked up the preschooler from his place of happy learning and song and drove him up the coast to a museum party celebrating a new installation of animatronic dinosaurs. My husband phoned as I stood in a vast, beamed hall filled with excited children. You know, he said, at least you’re not that old, as old as the dinosaurs, ha, ha. No, he didn’t say that. That’s what I said to myself. And then I phoned my husband and said it to him, holding the phone out so he could hear the roar from a triceratops as big as a bulldozer and roar-bleats from her animatronic babies. What my husband said was confused gibberish and then he had to go. I followed the preschooler to the panting, roaring, slyly moving T-Rex and we both stood before it for some time, holding hands, knowing we shouldn’t be afraid, but feeling funny anyway. I felt scoured by the dino’s shifting yellow eye and was reminded, for about the 50th time, of trying on a sunhat at Target earlier that day while my son was in school and, to my shock, turning into an octogenarian. I thought hats were my friends. Apparently times have changed.

She moves. Her babies move.

It’s a big toy, my son told me and I assured him he was absolutely right, just a big roaring toy, not real. He led the way across a bridge to a woodsy little area set up with catering tables. Our dinner choices: a turkey leg fit for King Henry the VIII (or a T-Rex) with tiny roasted potatoes and salad for me, a small drumstick, skin on, French bread and salad for my four year old. No pizza? my son asked, looking at me with great confusion. I returned the look. Guess not, I said. Just chicken like you’ve never really eaten it before. Well…he said. Luckily they were serving plenty of lemonade and we sipped brimming cups of it and ate bread at a table beneath those other dinosaurs, oaks, branches spreading quietly over us like a bewitching benediction. That’s right. A freakin’ bewitching benediction. Not far from our table a creek murmured pleasantries and often children galloped by and my son would gallop after them for a bit, then return for more lemonade as I gazed up into the oaks and felt not twenty, not thirty-something, not middle-aged and not 80, but a tiny bit peaceful imagining humanity’s thumbprint on the world’s timeline—about as big as a T-Rex footprint, I thought, ocean-blue, remarkably imperfect and cast forever. My husband phoned. When you’re 95 you’re going to look back and wonder what the heck the fuss was all about, he told me. Okay, I said. Roar. As we left the museum in search of a beachside pizza joint, my son waved at the giant T-Rex. Bye, T-Rex! he told it. I’ll miss you! Several people around him smiled and said aw and placed their hands over their hearts as I scrounged in my purse for a tissue. I live with the future. How lucky am I.

Where they live.

About PB Rippey

Writer, wife, mother, grateful. Fiction, memoir, poetry, kidlit (MG), member SCBWI.
This entry was posted in Me and Us, Santa Barbara, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Roar While You Can

  1. You’re definitely lucky! Great story, and I especially liked “imagining humanity’s thumbprint on the world’s timeline.”

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