Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Chronicles of a Folk Family

A Reminiscence

June, 2013

Sometimes life is so deliciously weird. You find yourself standing at the hostess stand in a Ground Round at an Oshkosh convention center waiting for them to bring you a milk, to-go. Because you're a mom in a folk family.

We're here for the Irish Festival, where daddywhumpus's Celtic folk-rock band is playing two sets over the weekend. It's the first of the festival season and the first where we are attempting to be a family. I am deeply uncertain of our success and my happiness, and when I say "deeply uncertain," I mean "pretty sure this is going to be a fucking disaster that ends with me feeling like Folk Nanny."

It's Friday night, and since we did not haul our own alcohol (I did not think there would be room in the car with four humans, luggage, merch, and gear). And I figured, it's Wisconsin, where you can bring your kids to the bar and civil servants can't unionize, so clearly their blue laws will be at the very least a lighter shade of blue than Minnesota's. After all, having lived relatively close to the Wisconsin border for most of my time in the Great North, I know how common it is for us to make our own run for the border to get beer after hours in the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes.

But no. They stop selling "in the city" at 9:00 in the gas stations and laundromats where they sell alcohol, so it was looking like a long dry night in the hotel room for me.

I am adding "check out local liquor laws" to my festival spreadsheet. I can put it right where "check out local breastfeeding restrictions" used to be on the "travels with baby" spreadsheet.

Now, babywhumpus is watching "Despicable Me" on the laptop, munching on peanut butter crackers, sipping his to-go milk, and I am enjoying a lovely Wisconsin pale ale that daddywhumpus procured in an adjacent town.

Unfortunately, we have not had a chance to discuss norms and expectations for a family festival trip, and I am unsure of how strict and demanding I should be. He is here for music and the band, and it is a business, but I do feel that attention must be paid to the fact that our child is here and respect must be paid to the fact that the main responsibility for his welfare, entertainment, care, and feeding will fall to me while daddywhumpus plays music, glad-hands, and schmoozes.

It's kind of like an extended work week for me, really, but it's my mobile office. Do I just let this play out and then we discuss afterwards for the next one? Do I try to find a moment when we can talk about it before the melee starts tomorrow?

After all, a simple visit to our local Irish Festival ended once with me storming dramatically out during one of their sets, as I was so furious with the situation. It's not one of my prouder moments but really, considering the white hot rage I was feeling at the time, it was the least crazy thing I could do.

I don't want to be in that position again.

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