Faire

by Mrs. Smith on June 17, 2022

I don’t very often thank TikTok for anything (because I’m not on TikTok) (for the same reason that I’m not on Twitter) (which is, I don’t need any more social media in my life, and one could argue that I actually much less of it.) (More on that later. Maybe.)

But it was a TikTok video that sparked C’s excitement about going to a Renaissance Faire — and oooh, sparks of excitement are pretty fun. They usually lead to something good, and in this case, they led us to dressing up and spending money on small businesses run by creative artisans.

There are worse things, for sure.

A full accounting of the entire shabang would be long and likely interesting only to me, and only during the time I spend writing it… So, I shall instead just skip to my favorite part.

Let’s see. How do we do this? It’s been so long. Eesh.

Backstory was that part about it being C’s idea, head-nod to TikTok for inspiring something awesome.

Then there was the part about my sister being in Utah when we had this grand idea, so she was able to bring all the medieval costumes back from my Mom’s.

Then there was the part where instead of it being just me, C, and iBaby going together the first weekend, I decided to bring my 9yo niece and my 9yo daughter, too, which radically changed the experience. Oh, and the car trouble and the 10 other things that made us so late I nearly decided not to go. I mean, who shows up at 4pm to a Faire ending at 6 or 7? Eesh.

Apparently, I do.

And as expected, I spent the whole time with my niece (who looked like something straight out of Narnia), chasing after Miss H, who was running around with a Harry Potter robe covering her muggle clothing, just completely enamored with everything and everyone, and wanted to tell them so.

My favorite part that day was when she told a older-than-me shopkeeper, “Your costume is beautiful – but not as beautiful as YOU!”

And then, when the shopkeeper was deeply touched, and Miss H continued, “I tell that to everyone because everyone is beautiful,” the meaningful moment actually continued, when the shopkeeper was even more deeply touched, because it was true. We are all so so beautiful.

Less favorite parts of that day include the rainy weather (huzzah for record-breaking rainful here in Oregon this year, sheesh) and the part where I (sort of) lost track of her in the crowd around the jousting tournament, and with the stroller/diaper-bag/baby in town, it not being easy to sneak through the throng to get my eyes on her… but let us not dwell on the difficult stuff.

I only mention that one because, man, really, it can be tremendously stressful to navigate life in public spaces with a very neurodivergent child. I don’t like labels to define people, but sometimes they’re helpful. And for other parents of the neuro-not-typical, you’ll know what I mean. It is just hard, sometimes, in some settings, to be responsible for a small person who doesn’t get social cues, who disregards more boundaries, especially those around personal space, even with strangers… I mean… Should I tell you about the time she… No. No, I shouldn’t.

She just loves people. She really does. And it’s a wonderful, refreshing thing. Except not in some settings.

So the next day, as I contemplated my original plan to take the whole family down there the next weekend, I had  some doubts. It was a big ordeal to have her unleashed for 3 hours there. Did I have it in me to do it again?

Mr Smith assumed I’d want to go with just C, seeing as we didn’t get to do that just-her-and-me thing.

It was tempting. But I wanted the whole-family experience there. We so rarely do anything adventurous and fun. Plus, there are these two garbage bags full of homemade robes, capes, and accessories from my Mom. Can’t not go…

But…

That little Miss H. It broke my heart a little bit to feel the weight of parenting a special needs kid, pressing down on me and once again dragging down the prospect of a family outing. Do we go? How do we make sure she’s safe, though…

And I had an idea.

Inspiration struck hard. I got choked up writing the email to the Renaissance Faire volunteer coordinator. Had to rewrite it twice.

What a wonderful faire! 
I’ll spare you a long recount of the endless praise I have for you,  based on my time there yesterday, and jump straight to my question. 
Are you accepting volunteers for next weekend?
My 9yo would make such a fantastic addition to your greeting committee, I just had to ask. (She’d obviously have a parent supervising.)
It’s not everyday that we find places where her neurodivergence and lack of social norms is actually an asset that would be celebrated. She’s always in character as a magical, outgoing, welcoming, enthusiastic creature celebrating the beauty in everyone. 
Please feel free to text or call if that’s easier, I know it’s a busy busy time! 
~ MrsSmith
And then, 2 days later, I got choked up again, reading their reply:
I’m so excited to hear that you all enjoyed the Faire so much! I think it would be wonderful for your daughter to help out next weekend.
As expected, Miss H was thrilled at the prospect of being an official helper, and greeting everyone as they entered the realm. We planned her costume and eagerly awaited the happy day. (Shout out to amazon shipping for getting us butterfly wings 26 hours after we ordered them. Impressive.)
Now, the morning did not go as I’d planned. I woke up out of a dream that I completely forgot the baby’s costume and it was devastating. Ha. Not going to let THAT happen.
Except that, actually, I very nearly did and if it weren’t for that dream, I probably would have. Thanks, Jesus, for the headsup. As it was, we had to turn around to go get it when we were fully 20 minutes down the road. (Because I’m just not missing an opportunity to put little iBaby in that cape, I’m sorry.) Just more time to enjoy that audiobook, right kids?? lol.
In my defense, there was just a LOT of things to keep track of getting out the door, y’all, okay? And at the last minute, Mr Smith & the baseball-playing 11yo found out the games that day were cancelled, so they could come after all. HUZZAH, we all get to go, just like I wanted!
But did we get there before the Faire officially opened?
No.
Did we get there around when they opened?
No. Not even close, actually. So much for Miss H being there to greet people as they entered, right? But we rolled in before lunch, so, it could have been worse. 😉
Was it okay anyway?
Yes. Definitely.
Did the Smithlings have fun?
Yep. All of them. Even Mr Smith, who hates crowds.
Did the little Social Butterfly get to do her thing in a nice official capacity? Yes, she did.
Was it adorable?
Yes, it was.
It ended up being that she took a turn there at the entrance (with Mr Smith supervising) during a time where people were rolling in (they had an enormous turnout!) – and people were leaving to go find lunch elsewhere. She had to improve a greeting that would work well for either.
“Come in, come out, but come again soon!”
Oh, she’s so cute.
After the last jousting tournament, when there were quite a lot of people leaving, it was my turn to help supervise, and oh, it was delightful. Every bit as wonderful as I hoped it would be, seeing her do the light-and-joy spreading thing she does so well. Where I was sitting, I got to see the faces of people after they passed her, and it just melted my heart over and over to see people tickled pink by her funny little compliments.
“Well, you must be the goddess of Cuteness! And you’re the god of Coolness! Thank you for coming!”
I mean…
It was really worth all the driving and costuming and pushing the stroller through mud, just to have a space where it was completely and totally socially acceptable to let her do her thing. That part. That was my favorite.
There were lots of other things that were highly enjoyable, though, of course. The tiny little fat unicorn pony, for one.
And the “Rock-a-Thy-Baby” enclosed tent, where mamas could sit in surprisingly comfortable rocking lawn chairs and nurse their babies, taking selfies in peace and quiet in the 5 minutes that they weren’t being shown cool things by excited children. Just so there’s evidence that I did in fact get to wear this amazing thrift store find. Tada. My favorite tiara:
Big public Thank You for the relatively nice weather that day. It had torrential-downpoured on the grounds the night before, so the ground was just absolutely squishy to the point of wheelchairs getting stuck in places — but it only drizzled a little bit on us when we first got there. The rest of the day was cloudy and breezy and cool, which was great for costumes with layers.
Normally, I try to make this sort of storytelling tie up all nicely at the end. Some sort of punchline or quote or happy little something reminding the reading of where the post started. Makes it so much more satisfying and fun to read. But as noted at the beginning –ooh, look, I did tie it back to the top, ha!– it’s been a while. I’m way rusty.
I intend to do a bit more of this blogging business moving forward, because –also as noted at the beginning, dang, maybe I haven’t quite lost my touch here– I really would like to have less social media in my life. I’m going back to my roots. Back to the dinosaur era of sharing your life online.
Ye olde familie blog.
Thems that wants to hear from me, this is where you can do it. I’m not even going to be all perfectionist about it, either. Not procrastinating posting this. Not relocating to a better blogging site. Not updating this one to look a little less tropical since we’re, like, on the mainland and stuff now. Nopenopenope. I’m not even making promises. Maybe I won’t be making time to post more over here.
I just can feel the yuck of a very very sick world a little too much over there in “meta” Zuckerberg media. (insert rolled eyes emoji) I don’t want it to be hopeless. But I also don’t know that those particular social media platforms are worth saving. The algorithms are designed to create contention. They are. And I’m kinda feeling “not my circus, not my monkeys” a little bit.
This here, however. THIS is my circus. These are my monkeys. Or raccoons, depending on the day.
The big teenage boys who love D&D and were actually quite happy to dress up and walk around in their rainboots, geeking out about weapons and archery and woodworking and fancy sets of dice.
My oldest & mostly-grown daughter, with her affinity for all things magikal and her plans to have a booth of her own at next year’s Faire. The iBaby, making it like Christmas every single day in Smithtopia.
The MrSmith, bringing balance to the force in his complimentary total-opposite-of-me-ness. Me, with my almost total lack of photography skills. Like, this is the *only* picture with J’s cool Brazilian handmade boots. Lovely shot, this one. I’m so glad I caught this moment.
And the Social Butterfly, teaching us how to love louder, live harder, and hug far longer than is socially acceptable.
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