June 16th, 2013

Zoe's first Pagan Festival

Margaret and I took Zoe to Free Spirit Gathering, a family friendly pagan festival in Maryland. We've both gone before but this was Zoe's first time there. It was great to watch her develop over the week that we were there.

This morning, after dancing the night through, I was awakened by Zoe and her friends discussing how to find me and where I might be outside my cabin door. I poked my head out and Zoe gave me a fathers' day bracelet. You could tell that getting me the bracelet was close to the limit of her logistics skills, and she was getting frustrated. But she was very happy to have succeeded. I was very proud of her. Margaret had told her that she needed to find something for me and I think had pointed out that there were two streets of vendors at the festival so she should have at it. So, she needed to look through shops, talk to owners to find out the price, get me there to have my wrist measured, pay, return later to pick up the finish bracelet, and then somehow get it to me mostly all on her own. That's a lot for a five-year-old. She may have had some help at various stages, but I think she stretched her skills at working with the world and I'm really proud of her. So, now I have a "crazy-colored" rope bracelet with a pink clasp that I will treasure.

More generally I was really happy with the environment. It was a great place for kids to take risks, challenge themselves, learn to work with with each other, practice being somewhat independent, but do so in a relatively safe environment. Zoe got to struggle trying to fit in with kids that had different priorities for how they wanted to play, worked to find ways to influence the environment herself, and generally had a great time. It was really fun to watch her with the other kids.