On one of the past weekends, about three weekends now actually. I am fairly late with this posting, the Hubs and I decided to go to our local Maryland Renaissance Festival. This is not a spur of the moment idea, it’s actually something Hubs and I have gone to once a year for the last six years….and a tradition I introduced him to after I had been going for a good 10 years previously.
Every year we save a few extra dollars, wake up bright and early (not very bright actually as we get up probably just as the sun is rising), we dress in our best olde time flair, and take the long hour and forty-five minute drive to the festival.
This year we took Em, for the first time. She went once when she was a teeny tiny infant, but it was fairly difficult trudging around the dirt hills in the crowded woods where the festival grounds are held with a small child. We decided to wait a reasonable amount of years before we took her again after that, not too long, but enough to where she will actually appreciate and understand what’s going on around her next time we delve into ye olde crowds with her.
This is the first year we have gone as a family and not as a group of friends. It was just the three of us and it was rather different. Not different as in a lesser experience, but it was more of a this-is-our-family, this-is-our-life kind of experience. To be honest, we don’t do a lot of “just us” things. Most family outings include at least one set of in-laws, or other friends. It was humbling having a moment like this being just the three of us.
I experienced this years trip in a whole new way. What attraction did I want to show off to our daughter first? Of course, we had to buy her a crown, and get her face painted. She was just the loveliest butterfly princess after that.
I had to show her the knights and the jousting, which she was extremely excited to see them shoot the bow and arrows. We TRIED to get her to enjoy the staple, yet mandatory, roasted turkey leg that we get every year. But alas, the idea of having a turkey leg you had to gnaw at and rip the meat off the bone with your bare teeth did not seem to please the wee princess.
Em saw her first live band that she will repeatedly talk about. That was quite exciting as she loves music, and when she saw the real instruments she immediately stood up on a bench to get a closer look. She had a delightful look of amazement on her face as we visited our favorite armory there, and I had gotten myself yet another dagger to add to my now ever growing geekory collection. She got herself a nice wooden shield to go with her wooden sword we had bought her from the same place a few years back…and then named herself a warrior princess which I was most definitely for.
After a lot of gawking at different attractions, playing games we don’t normally partake in, and reluctantly letting the child play in the only child’s play area, rightfully dubbed the Wee Bairn’s Shipwreck (because it seemed more like a dumping ground for parents who were too tired to chase their kids around any longer that day), we were done.
The crowds started to pile in, they announced it was sold out for the day, the sun was no longer cool and pleasant but hot and overpowering, and Princess Em had proclaimed her legs were just too tired to move anymore. So while we normally wait until closing, we were just as fulfilled to be leaving around 2 as a family.
While this year was definitely a new experience, and not the turkey leg consuming, mead guzzling, late night shenanigans we normally encounter there, it was a respectfully humble experience which I would choose to do again, as our new tradition. By golly I think we’ve grown up.