The Calgary Folk Festival – 16 of 100

This weekend, James went to his first music festival. The Calgary Folk Festival is pretty much the most baby/kid-friendly festival in the history of time–there are a lot of cool-looking fedora-sporting parents to be found. I think you could find someone of every age there – from in-utero to 90 or so. There’s something special about this festival and how they appeal to every age group…how they manage to be wholesome and cool at the same time.

How does a five-month-old have fun at a music festival? you ask. Well we just rolled around a blanket together like we always do – just this time in a beer garden with some blues or hip hop or indie rock blowing through the trees overhead.

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A few things made this music festival venture an even bigger success as new parents.

#1: We got a babysitter for the first time on Friday night. This was a big hump for me to get over. I don’t think it was seamless – from the report, James cried and he was wide awake at midnight when I got home. However, Dan and I danced with abandon and had a few cocktails like the good old days. We had fun – a lot of fun. For the record: you should really see Kid Koala’s Vinyl Vaudeville if you have the chance.

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Want to know a secret? There’s vodka in this lemonade.

#2: A sleep revolution is happening in our house. James has been waking up only once in the night to eat and sleeping until…wait for it…7 a.m. and sometimes later! This means that I have slept for five and even six hour stretches for the first time in five months!!!! He is also suddenly taking long naps – like longer than an hour long. Sometimes two hours.

I don’t want to go on about this sleep thing – but for a new mom, it feels like a miracle. So for all those new moms out there – I just want to tell you that with some dedicated work, this kind of thing is an actual possibility – not just the stuff of your wildest dreams. (And if anyone wants to talk to me about baby sleep and naps for hours on end, give me a call 🙂 No really, I’m serious.)

So, yes, after our big night out, Dan and I actually woke up before James on Saturday morning. Then we loaded him up in the stroller and off we went for a full day of folk festing.

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Back when I was pregnant, Dan kept talking about Folk Fest. It’s been our favorite Calgary event ever since we moved here. “We’re going to folk fest,” Dan kept saying – as if going to Folk Fest represented our ability to remain ourselves in the face of parenthood.

Does everyone considering parenthood fear the sacrifices they will have to make? I did. Before I had James, sometimes I would try to envision having a kid and think: A part of my life ends there. And something else begins. What exactly do you have to give up when this tiny being enters your life?

You’re going to have to give up some things- like sleep and your skinny jeans – at least for a while. You’re going to have to give up some of your independence and your space. You’re going to have offer up your very heart. It’s going to be hard sometimes. Some days you will want to cry your eyes out and some days you will. And sometimes, it will be transcendent.

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But if you’re willing to be a little bit flexible – if you’re willing to let your little one nap on the go (even if the sleep books warn against it) – and you’re willing to go home a little bit earlier on Saturday night – I’m here to tell you that the Calgary Folk Festival is not one of those things.

And at one point, when the little one is sleeping in the carrier against your chest and your bobbing up and down to the funk band on stage in the clearing behind the crowd, you’ll look around and see all these other parents throwing balls to their kids, chasing their kids and one couple standing beside a little pea pod while their toddler naps – and you’ll see how much fun they are having – being parents, doing what they love to do.

You’ll think: I get to share this life in a whole new way- I get to share what I love about this life – I get to discover through their eyes. And for everything I give up, I get all this crazy-making joy and love.

It’s not such a bad deal.

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