July 7, 2012

Boom Boom Pow

Fourth of July Festivities.
We went.
It was fun.
And also not so fun.
More fun, though, and for that we were pleasantly surprised.
I broke one of our hoops (Larson's) while I was coiling it down for travel.
Still, we had fun.

We decided to head to Tacoma for the Freedom Fair. We had plans to leave bright and early (it's almost a 2 hour drive), so we could find parking near the event (that way we could just hop back to the car for food rather then have to lug it all with us). However, none of us heard the alarm we had set, so that plan was a wash. We were going to have to be shuttled in (and it turns out I'm glad for that. The "near event parking" they had set up was just "find a spot on a side street and try to squeeze in", so we would have had to bring everything with us anyway).

shuttle ride... ftw

The event itself was not what we were expecting. I was picturing a huge waterfront park, with lots of grassy areas, stages set up for music that would be easily identifiable, a kickass kids play area, etc. It ... was not that. The park itself is more of a waterfront walking/biking trail ... really pretty, but no real big grassy areas. Just a lot of sidewalks and cement and parking lots. This made the event very looooong and spread out.

enveloped in love

We walked and walked and walked trying to find the kids zone area that the flyer raved about, and when we finally stumbled upon it, there were 3 inflatable bounce houses/slides that cost 10$ a kid. That was it. The entirety of the Kids Zone = 3 blow up houses. That was a disappointment.

The good news was that we didn't have to walk much further (still carrying all of our crap, because there was no grassy area to stake a spot and set up camp before walking around to explore) to find the BMX set up. Woot for that; our food bag was heavy, yo! The boys LOVE to watch BMX riders. They had a show set to start in about an hour, so in the meantime the radio station was entertaining the crowd with some sweet tunes, and we decided to hoop a little. It took about .5 seconds before people were lining up to try the hoops. One person insisted the kids take a little money for letting him use our hoops, and this gave the boys their next money making idea ... they grabbed a cup, and started hooping for the crowd.

can you see their money cup? <3

They hooped the hour before the BMXers were to go on. We were up front and center for the show, but the airshow ran longer then expected, so the bmx show was delayed by about an hour. The gathered crowd wasn't leaving, and the kids didn't want to lose their spot, so we stood there for the hour. I completely forgot to grab our sunscreen before we hopped on the shuttle, so while I was able to shield the boys' necks, shoulders, and arms while we stood there, mine didn't so much stand a chance. Ouch! and OUCH!

these fuckers are a blast to watch

The BMX show was great, and then they hooped for another two or three hours after. They made 15 bucks from the crowd. Sweet little entrepreneurs. And they spent almost all of it on baked popcorn. Haa! They can't hold onto money to save their lives.

kinda hard to see dude's sunglasses ... look hard. 

While they were hooping, I spotted a dog wearing sunglasses. Total Boss ... He was killing it, yo.

Hoopity Bros ... their stage name

When the kids were all hooped out, we walked back up and found a little patch of grass behind the vendor tents. It was right on the water, with rocks and dirt cliffs that the boys could explore. Perfect spot to relax and wait for the fireworks. The kids, per usual, went to work making boats. They do this every time we're near water. I love watching them craft boats out of whatever they find washed up. Once the boats were all made and launched off to sea, the kids took their new found love of minecraft, and started mining the dirt cliffs. Rylan dug out a pretty big fish tooth! They drew and colored, skipped rocks, and made a few friends to explore the rock wall with.

boat building

material gathering



grinding a hole to insert the mast

little artist

The kids seemed happy all day. They didn't talk about him, or show any signs of even thinking about him. I, on the other hand, ran the gamut of emotions. From sadness to love to anger to happiness to loneliness to freedom. I would find myself so much in awe of something the kids were doing, and I'd look over to where he would have been standing to share the moment with him. What would have been another magical "can you believe we made these amazing beings" eye connect moment, instead filled me with such a hollow pit. And other times I'd see all the food carts around and be so very relieved that the stresses of him finding a way to sneak around and lie to me where not a part of my day; were not ruining yet another holiday. I poked around through all of the funky little vendors. I spent about 10 minutes looking at and trying on a dress, finally finding the one that fit just right (handmade clothing sizes aren't always all that accurate. One size small may not fit right, but another is perfect), before realizing "Oh wait, I can't buy this". I haven't been this broke in such a long time, and I often forget that I am. In that moment, the one where I realize I can't afford a cheap little dress; I may not even be able to afford to feed my kids next month ... in that moment I hated him a little. It was an up and down ride, that's for sure, but the weightless freedom and happiness that my kids exuded was and is so very contagious. They are so in the moment, and they inadvertently pull me right back into it when my mind wanders too far.

boom boom pow

And then the sun went down, and the sky lit up with fireworks. With just the first two explosions Rylan looked to me and said "They started off the show with Dad's favorite fireworks, and he's not even here to see them". I put my arm around him and held him closer. When I looked over at Larson, he had tears streaming down his face. I simply said "I love you, buddy", and he ran to my arms, buried his head into my arm pit, and just cried and cried. Owen, who is usually so vibrant during the fireworks display. Pointing, and excitedly asking us "did you see that one" and "wow, look at that one" ... just sat quietly. Sadness in his eyes as he whispered to himself "i can't believe he's missing this".

The show lasted less then 15 minutes (something that we're not used to. We like the ones that last an hour or more). While we were disappointed we came such a long way for a firework display that we weren't impressed with ... we slowly recognized it as being exactly what we needed it to be. It was a very painful experience for my children, and me, too. And while we knew it probably wouldn't be easy, and we toyed around with the idea of just skipping it all together, we all knew we would deeply regret giving up such an important day to us. We went, experienced both joy and pain, and it ended at just the right time.

On the walk back to the shuttle Owen asked me how I would react if we ran into him there. This broke my heart. The kids haven't talked to him in 6 weeks; we don't even know where he is. Because of that, I know that each time we are out I find my mind going to a place of "I wonder if we'll run into him". "What will you do if we run into him". "How are you going to feel if we run into him". It doesn't matter how nearly impossible the chance is, not having closure in any sense causes the mind to wonder. It's painful, and to hear Owen talk out the same painstaking process... that's heartbreaking. The only answer I could give him was a giant hug and a twirl. Twirling makes us smile.


We made it to the return shuttle on time, and the parking garage we were in was so ... quiet, so we decided to hang on on the roof of the parking structure for a while enjoying the night air, talking, and racing. We're always racing ... "hey mom, count how fast I can run over there". "hey mom, count how many times I go around this". "hey mom, count how long it takes me to get back to you". I love it <3  

The night ended well. And although it was painful and hard near the end, we all were very happy we decided to go. 


  1. "I may not even be able to afford to feed my kids next month ... in that moment I hated him a little."

    I finally got a job - two actually - and when I sat down and did the math to see what my income is gonna look like working 30-50 hours a week I kinda hated my ex a little too. In truth, I've been struggling with that and so much resentment the past few days. It's been awful.

    Even though I know I get to live with our son and I get to be happy in a way he will likely never know - the money thing can be so hard.

    1. The money thing - it can be such a source of pain. And anger. And resentment. It's so easy to get wrapped up in it and forget to see the bigger picture. (((hugs))) to us warrior Mamas as we walk this path, and hope it gets easier and easier to find the peace within.

  2. Would so love to meet up for a playdate if we're ever in the area! Thanks for the invite <3