We meet surprisingly little resistance in the morning. I'd like to think the fight had gone out of them but that was a foolish hope. While we drove around looking for a place to park, the whining started. It was hot. Did we have water? What was there to do? Could they buy ice cream? The usual.
But as we started to walk a few blocks to the festival, the mood started to shift. We were passed by some guy in one of those howling wolves shirts with ultra 80s cheese glasses and an awesome 'stache. I looked at Umberto and we both grinned. "That guy was awesome." I said. Umberto nodded. And that kind of opened us up for an awesome day. Even when we got to the opening street and saw this:
I admit, my crowd phobic self balked a bit. I promised the kids and myself that if it was bad, we could always leave. And we marched in ready for battle...but it wasn't a battle. It was crowded but everyone was happy. There was art everywhere most of it beautiful and/or cool. Umberto was finding artists he liked and getting excited about it. The girls admired pottery with me.
We found a water tent. The little beastie girls got soaked.
There was a free pottery class for kids from a local pottery that does lessons. We had to wait in line for about 20 minutes while behind us many, many little hammers hammered away at a wood project (that part was pretty nightmarish). It was worth it when both girls took to the clay like they were born to it.
Piper was nervous and was doing her balking thing. I had to BEG her to try it and when she did, she loved it. She was also very good at it.
Umberto pushed past a tiny bit of fear to do some jumping with a harness and trampoline.
We ran into friends and people we just knew by sight. It felt a little bit like belonging. And there was that sheer joy of just being outside, being together, seeing things, immersed in the collective good feel of a community. I realized as we drove home that the day has been quite perfect, and that indeed life was sliding into one of those sweet spots. And that feeling has come again and again since last Saturday. Sitting and reading to the kids while Umberto snuggles Jude. Playing with R who is exploding with language. Going to the pool. Making day trips to Atlanta.
Last year at this time, things were rough. I was scared because I was about to get an amino that I still wasn't sure if I was going to get. I was scared because I was ignorant and bias. I was unhappy in my life because I was still struggling with feeling useless and wanting to feel important. I was struggling with my self image, my self confidence, all kinds of things with that pesky "self."
I did not know that this year would find me happier than I've been in a long time. My family is complete and perfect. The intimacy, the humor, the intelligence, the warmth, the fart jokes, all of it makes this a place that I long to live in, a place I dreamed of many years. I've become passionate again about equality. I'm reading new things, trying on new ways of thinking about the world, thinking about creation and art. It's a heady feeling.
A couple of nights ago, I was looking for a post that defined me. It was an impossible task as there were so many. But I found a birthday post I wrote when I was 34 about how I never wanted H and I too look back and say "Shit I wish I had done that." It was in reference to grad school which was a super ballsy move on our parts. We risked a lot and those were sweet years indeed. I realized that I still find this true today, and I still think we can say "Shit we did it." We are still here living life, taking risks, raising some serious righteous children. And I find I'm about to take a few more risks with my writing because I realized the other day it was the only thing on my "shit I wish I had done list". I'm not sure where that will go but right now as I bask in the sweetness of life, it feels like it might just be okay.