As I said on Saturday, I spent the weekend away.
Well, more or less. We had a performance on Saturday afternoon, which took me out of the house at 11:30 in the morning. Afterward, I had dinner with a friend, then drove the nine million miles to the middle of nowhere to spend time with my Romani family.
For those who don't know, the Romani - or Great Travelers, as I am trying to learn to call them - are the support team for the Festival. They dance. They sing. They woo. But they also carry ice and water across the Faire site, making sure the rest of us don't get dehydrated. They fill in when something goes wrong. They clean. They haul. They do all of the thankless jobs that need to be done. And I am forever in awe of them. I count myself lucky to be welcomed into the very tight family that they have created.
Every year, shortly after casting, all of the Great Travelers go out to a camp on the outskirts of town. They call it Boot Camp, because it is a grueling four day event involving running, exercising, dancing, drumming, and all sorts of physical labor. But it also serves as a wonderful time for them to bond and share time as a family. Each year, I am invited to join them for at least part of the weekend. This year, I couldn't say no.
No, really, I couldn't. They needed help, so I went.
Though I worked some, and danced, and otherwise was kept busy the entire weekend, it was the most relaxing time I've had in a very long time. For once, I did not have someone clinging to me every second, yelling "Mom-mom-mom" when I put him down. I didn't have to keep my eyes and ears peeled for the slightest hint of his newest mischief.
Instead, I was surrounded by people who were quick to offer me love, support, and help, in whatever way I needed. I spent the weekend being pampered by my family, and being allowed to just be quiet. I wandered paths through the trees. I sang songs and teared up at a story told around the most magnificent campfire. I attended an outdoor church service that was more fulfilling than any I've been to in a long time. And while I carried out my duties, I was allowed to just be quiet and contemplate, something I lack in my real life most days.
So yes, after my tirade last year about spending Mother's Day with my child, I spent this year alone in the woods with thirty-some people who are not blood-related. But, they are my family. And I needed them more than I knew.