On Friday afternoon, I sat down to write as my family headed out the door to the kid-friendly Rockygrass Festival here in our hometown. I was happy to prepare myself for a weekend with friends, family, and general joviality with a few, quiet moments to myself. With deck in hand, I asked for a card to guide my weekend and thought to myself that the Tree of Life card about connection would be spot on. Lo and behold, out of 52 cards I pulled it. No kidding. I love this.
The weekend did prove to be a celebration of music and community. Our little town is transformed during these festival weekends. People come from all over the country for pluckin’, river play, and good times. The locals also come out of the woodwork. Some dear folks I see only a few times a year at the festivals. Amidst the visiting crowds, pretty much everywhere I turn I spot a friend, and everyone pulls together to keep the little ones safe.
When my Haven was wee, he was a runner. I have lost him at festivals many times, but one toddler escape is engraved forever in my memory. We realized our two-year old adventurer had slipped away and headed straight to the river that borders the festival. There were friends hanging out everywhere along the bank and in the water. They had the waterfront covered so we turned toward the stage. Within seconds there was a ripple of “Haven’s lost” through a sea of familiar faces. Sure enough someone had seen him heading toward the front row. There he was dancing knee-high. Alone it would have taken us a panicked eternity to find him. Thankfully we had an entire village on hand.
This year Haven was impossible to track. He and his buddies have grown up with the best of bluegrass serenading their games. They feel at home and safe to roam on the festival grounds. Having worked so diligently not to lose him in the past, I had a hard time granting him a longer leash. Little by little, I began to trust that within this protective, alternate universe, he could fend for himself under the collective watchful eye. Someone always knew the whereabouts of the little boy posse.
I actually missed Haven, but love watching his free spirit on the run. I also was granted newfound freedom to connect with cousins, a new niece, old friends, random strangers, and especially sweet Afton who soaked up my undivided attention.
I would highly recommend a weekend devoted to nothing but hanging out along a river listening to some good ol’ tunes with your loved ones and several hundred other mamas. Where can you and yours bask in the embrace of your community?