My oldest child — and she will no doubt be quick to let me know she is no child when she reads this — will be turning 21 a little later this year.
For some reason, that age — 21 — is a bit of a milestone, like 16 and 18. I know a lot of people say “you’re legal” at that age, meaning one can legally drink I suppose, but since our family is made up of teetotalers, that holds little significance. Maybe it’s because in years gone by one couldn’t vote until age 21, I don’t know, but it is one of those big milestone birthdays, none-the-less.
Way back when she was just a baby we were living in a tiny little community within sight of the Chesapeake Bay, and like all communities it had its share of festivals and fairs. Among the activities in the first fair the spring following my child’s birth was a baby contest. My wife made a colorful dress complete with plenty of frilly edges, put a bow in her still-scant hair, and then paraded her in front of the judges.
Well, she won the age 2 and younger category, and my wife was hooked. Don’t get me wrong, I have a major philosophical problem with all these pageants where parents dress up their little darlings, trying to make them look as if they are already 21 before they even reach 12, but that’s not what this was.
It was a baby contest.
Then it became a series of toddler contests.
With the birth of our second, also a girl, we were entering baby and toddler contests each spring and fall. And they usually won. And yes, I say that with more than a tiny bit of parental pride because, who doesn’t like hearing their child is the cutest/prettiest/smartest/most athletic?
Eventually, we moved away to where there weren’t any such competitions. To this day, however, my girls have those trophies and plaques sitting in their rooms, and occasionally their mother or I will brag just a bit about what cute babies they were, and point to the trophies as proof that it must be true because they won contests that say so.
Right now, Scenic Motors and The Mount Airy News is running their annual Cutest Kids Contest, and that gives your child (or grandchild) the chance to have a few bragging rights throughout Surry County! Believe me, 20 years from now you’ll still, every once in a while, be thinking about that.
But time is running out! Voting has already opened, and the deadline to enter and cast votes is June 17. Hurry on over to mtairynews.com and look in the upper right hand corner for the contest. Click, enter, and then tell your friends, neighbors, relatives, anyone you know to log on and vote for your little one!
John Peters is editor of The Mount Airy News. He can be reached at email@example.com or at 719-1931.