In my twenties, live music was a regular part of my world and it would have disturbed me to know my children's first real music fest would be more than ten years into parenthood. It's not how I pictured it at all.
I know that life is not the pictures, but I thought I'd still try to have some fun with my daughters in the sunshine today at the Redwood Mountain Faire. In an attempt to distract them from another round in the ring this morning, I reminded them: Don't fight! We're going to have fun! FREAKING FUN. YEAH! Daisy was more into it than Violet and immediately started working on her outfit.
It took us a while to get out the door ready for the range of hot meadow sun to forest chill, but I was psyched. Violet was whiny and wanted to know how long the drive was going to be. I told her 10 minutes, and, just as we reached the parking lot, she wanted to know how long we were staying. I told her as long as we wanted - All. Day. Long. She protested, despite my clarification that getting to go to a music festival is a treat. We got out of the car, and Violet complained about the hot sun and having to walk to the gate. At that moment, a man approached us, "You want a ride?" Turns out, there was a shuttle, bringing the only reprieve from Violet's complaining in the first hour.
Fully prepared for the kids harshing my music fest mellow, I cheerfully maneuvered them through the gates to a shady spot under a tree by the mainstage so we could spread out our blankets and chairs. Violet announced there was nothing to do. I took them to the food booths and we started with snowcones for the girls.
Mama was ready for a glass of wine, which took a line for bracelets, a line for tickets, and a line for wine. Before I could plop down between the girls on our chairs, ready to relax with some music, they announced they were really hungry.
I waited in two more lines for food according to each kid's preference. Violet's food was ready long before Daisy's and mine, and I was still waiting for our food when Violet let me know she couldn't eat what I had gotten for her. I waited in a third line. By the time I claimed my seat again under the tree, Violet needed to go to the bathroom and Daisy had spilled half her burrito on her dress. I started to lose my patience.
Daisy asked me why I was cussing so much not long after they were both too hot in the sun, too cold in the shade, Violet's shoes were too small to walk in, they didn't like the outhouses, it was too loud, and there was still nothing to do. And yet we managed to have some fun, one child barefoot, the other covered in chicken burrito.
You know, the complaining did finally subside. For about 15 minutes, everyone's needs had been squarely met, we were sitting on our blanket in the sun, and I realized it was time for more sunblock. I grabbed the spray can and did exactly what I had reminded the kids not to do - spraying directly into my face. Even with my eyes closed, they burned so hard I couldn't open them for several minutes. This was our icebreaker. We couldn't stop laughing. Through tears streaming down my face, vision blurred, I heard Violet say she was sorry for her bad attitude. Later, when we were waiting for more kid's activities, I felt like I should explain to the other parents who were making conversation - I sprayed sunblock in my eye, but it seemed to be such a paranoid excuse with the whiffs of smoke throughout the venue. Daisy observed that my eyeballs had red lines in them and one eye was really puffy. Exactly, because it's important to stay cool at music fest.