I know I don’t want to live in the city – but visiting Olympia I get a small taste of the kind of freedom I’d feel, hauling my kids about during the day and seeing hardly anyone we know and getting to do almost anything I want within my cash flow restrictions. We walk on the waterfront and look at boats and sand sculptures and find some delicious pizza with a pint of delicious organic amber draft beer and then walk a couple blocks for the cup of coffee so wonderful it’s the most special thing, and then wash our hands and faces and get a drink from the artesian well that flows downtown.
Later, miles away at the music festival on Helsing Farm, a few women approach Ralph and tell them how beautiful our daughter is: they’d noticed her in Olympia earlier that day. Ralph keeps the conversation short; Sophie is holding a hand bleeding from an injury on the hay-bale pyramid the kids are all gamboling about on. We walk across the road and the kids swim while I catch up with my friend S. and her son, naked, throws rocks in the river.
Back in time for the music; it is great family fare but also funny, a full two bands with the word “Pine” in their monikers, a lot of pseudo old-tymey stuff, each band with a young hipster girl sitting on her knees playing some minor instrument: tambourine, washboard. That said the sound is perfect and the venue is wonderful. The number of festival-goers feels right – a well-behaved gathering, cozy yet festive. My kids eat tamales and fresh vegetable stir-fry and drink juice spritzers and alternate between our laps and playing with the other children. I sit and talk to S. and her husband W. and feel no rush to go anywhere.
We’re home at 11:30 and the kids are asleep in the back seat. In cases like this I haven’t the heart to make them take their evening baths – I wash their faces gently with a warm washcloth after lying them in their bed and we tuck everyone in for another very busy day tomorrow.