We arrived Thursday afternoon and set up camp in 95 degree heat and humidity. My middle two, Aaron (11) and Sarah (10) were real troopers, helping their Mama remember everything Daddy taught us during our practice run in the front yard. He couldn't come along, due to a big weekend event of his own back home, so we asked grandparents and friends to help occupy the oldest (Luke) and youngest (Mary), for whom the festival would have been far more challenging. Once the tent was up and the car unloaded, I gave the two of them some money with instructions to find out whether the food vendors were open. Hot and exhausted, their choice of ice cream for dinner was completely fine by me!
I missed the opening ceremony, and chose not to participate in the evening's scheduled talks. All I cared about that first night was chilling on a blanket and listening to music. I needed to get into the space, needed a buffer zone from the flurry of home.
I was not disappointed.
That night the kids and I lounged under the stars as Aradhna taught us new songs and Josh Garrels sang songs we knew by heart. Our friends sat nearby, stars shone above us, and the breeze finally blew cool comfort our way. I felt my breathing slow, my face relax, and my spirit awaken.
I was ready - SO ready ... or so I thought at the time.
But far more awaited me than I'd bargained for.