Festivals and Stares

We recently went to an art and music festival in Annapolis. I have a hunch Catherine responds differently to live music, so I wanted to expose her to whatever the “music” part of the festival had to offer. Turns out, it was a quartet playing at noon under a tent on a perfectly crisp fall day.

One of Catherine’s caregivers joined us because Brian was out of town alone for the first time without the family since Catherine was born. Needless to say, he deserved that respite! We perched in the middle of the venue on the grass with a blanket where Catherine could get perfect stereo sound from the giant speakers. And the music began in an upbeat, jazzy, mellow sort of way.

Sarah was pushing up against nap time. As a result, she was a bit out of her skin and wanted to run all over the place – mostly toward the brick steps that made me a little nervous. I lost track of the number of times I had to get up and run after her, but frankly it was fun, and made me smile, so I didn’t care.

In time, though we reached the end of her rope and got ready to leave. As I picked Catherine up, I realized she wanted to stand. She’s the perfect height right now so her hips fit right between my knees which enables me to give her some extra support. We started dancing to the  music and in my mind, we evaporated into the air.

But then I noticed people staring. And as I looked back at them, I realized they quickly looked away. Why? Didn’t they realize they were witnessing a miracle? Couldn’t they see the hope that stood between my legs? Was it too hard to see the pure light radiating from Catherine – or at least from my smile – and realize this was something happy? Something worthy of stares. Something that makes a random observer fill with joy like when you see a toddler trying to catch bubbles.

Go ahead strangers. Stare. And smile at us when you do, please. It’ll be alright.

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