It happened during my family’s lake week.  We’d had a long day of swimming and such then gathered around the table for dinner.  I can’t quite remember the exact circumstances, but it culminated in Bear’s “But that’s not fair!” cry and my sister’s perfect response.  She turned to her younger daughter and asked, “What do we always say about fair?”

“The fair comes in October.”

There was a beat of silence before I burst out laughing – I’d gained another tool for the parenting arsenal.

For those of you who’ve never experienced this particular event, it turns out all fifty states have an annual State Fair. (You can even find a handy dandy list of dates by state here.)  I haven’t attended one of these yet, which I’m pretty sure is cause for eviction from North Carolina so let’s keep that under wraps, shall we?  But I can safely say the State Fair is a pretty big dang deal in these parts because it’s all over the news leading up to and during the event.

A good deal of the media’s focus seems to be on food – there’s always a local news anchor who does the obligatory piece on, well, interesting Fair food options.  Truth be told, the food itself may have a great deal to do with why I haven’t given this a try yet.  Frankly, I find it a little scary.  The options available are far too numerous to list…here are just a few that make me cock my eyebrow:

  • deep fried jalapeño pimento cheese and bacon hush puppies
  • deep fried s’mores
  • deep fried Pop Tarts
  • deep fried Klondike bar

Are we noticing a theme here?  Seriously, my arteries clogged up a little just by reading that list.  And not to get all TMI, but fried foods are not my friend.  Spending a day surrounded by Fair food sounds like nothing but a disaster waiting to happen for me.

At any rate, that’s a bit of the State Fair lowdown, and it just so happens that North Carolina’s State Fair happens every October.

Thus, “The fair comes in October.”

I’ve probably used this phrase a dozen times since August, and it makes me smile every time.  Because, as we’ve often told the kids, there’s no point in focusing on what’s “fair” in life.  We focus on what’s right.  Because what’s right for one kid is often different from what’s right for the other, and doing what’s right for the individual is the fair thing overall.

But all that’s a little convoluted and abstract for the 12 and under crowd.  I much prefer “The fair comes in October.” Short, sweet, and to the point.  BAM.

Even better, it turns out Bear used it in one of her reading responses for school.  As in, “Mike didn’t think the rule was fair, but as we all know the fair comes in October.”  I can only imagine what her teacher thought when she read that…

Thanks, Bee.  I’m keeping this one in my back pocket.