This was a glorious weekend. The weather was spectacular: it was brilliantly sunny and the temperature hovered between sixteen and twenty degrees.
Friday night I attended the rehearsal for the handfasting I was priestessing on Saturday. I didn’t know these women before I was referred to them, but I’ve really enjoyed working with them. They’re funny, loving, and the just right kind of people, you know? Their friends are equally fun, and we spent a lot of the two walk-throughs giggling. It relaxed everybody.
Saturday morning I had some errands to run, and I took the boy with me. “Mama,” he whispered as I buckled him into the car. “You know what we could do? We could go to Tim Horton’s.” He was so funny that I had to laugh, and decided that sure, we could have a treat. Well, the treat turned into a crisis, because as I pulled up to the drive-through speaker I said, “What doughnut do you want, the chocolate-covered one?” and he said yes. So I ordered him a chocolate-glazed doughnut and myself a maple-glazed one. I handed him his bag as we pulled around front and he pulled the doughnut out, then his face crumpled up. “Mama,” he said, “you made a mistake, you got the wrong doughnut!” And then I remembered that he and HRH had been sharing the occasional Boston Cream doughnut, and that I had, indeed, misunderstood and erred in my order. I apologised, we parked the car, and went inside to order the right kind for him. They were out of chocolate-glazed Boston Creams, but they did have maple-glazed; the boy decided that he was game to try one, and loved it. So a tragedy was turned into an exciting new discovery. (And I got an extra doughnut out of it.)
We stopped by Ceri and Scott’s house for fifteen minutes so we could trade books and I could drop off things to be taken to the monthly Random Colour craft session that I was going to miss. Then we went to Pointe-Claire Village to select chocolates for birthday and handfasting gifts, and a lovely little pair of heart-shaped Peruvian hammered silver earrings for my goddaughter’s eight birthday. Then it was back home for lunch and a rest for the boy, and I got ready for the ceremonies I was priestessing.
The handfasting was absolutely beautiful. The couple has been legally married for seven years but chose to have a spiritual service to celebrate their seventh anniversary, and to have their infant daughter named on the same day. No matter how many times you walk through something, when the actual day comes and it’s the real thing, everything is special and meaningful and so much more moving. I was complimented by guests several times for beautiful services, and every time I pointed out that the couple had written them and they should get the credit. The couple finally pointed out to me in return that anyone could have read it in a monotone: I may have had good material with which to work, but I made it special for them. There is a certain return in blessings; when you bless someone else in a ritual or rituals like this, you’re blessed in turn by their joy and love for one another. This was the first time I’ve ever performed such a deeply meaningful ritual for someone I didn’t already know, and I’m deeply thankful that it was such a joyful experience.
When I got home there was an e-mail waiting for me from Miranda, asking if we still had our baby swing. We checked, and we did, so we bundled everyone into the car and brought it over to her. We finally got to meet baby Tristan, who is just one month old. We had to cancel our earlier visit two weeks ago, so we were very happy to have an excuse to stop by and see him. A couple of days earlier Miranda had asked me if I would perform his naming ceremony, which I agreed to do immediately, and I was glad to be able to meet him before the day of the actual ritual! The excellent day continued with a brief visit with the Preston-LeBlancs, where we dropped off their birthday gifts and chatted for a quarter of an hour before finally heading home.
Sunday morning was the monthly Pagan playgroup meeting, where we talked about a potential camping trip for the families late this summer, made tissue paper flowers for Beltane, and worked on a new circle-casting song. And there were healthier snacks! The group has grown yet again.
We went home for lunch and the boy only had a brief lie-down before he got up again; it looks like we’re down to one nap per weekend. At two-thirty the boy and I packed up and headed out for the West Island Youth Symphony Orchestra‘s free concert called “1910 – A Celebration in Music,” programmed to celebrate the city of Beaconsfield’s centenary. The last time I heard the WIYSO was, erm, sixteen years ago, when I was looking for a cello teacher. Not only was this a chance for me to actually attend a concert (imagine! live orchestral music that I wasn’t playing!), it was an opportunity to share a concert-going experience with my son. And finally, I’d also have the chance to see my new conductor in action with a different group. I explained to the boy that this orchestra was made up of kids, and he immediately asked if he could join. I told him that these were older kids, but in
four three years (holy cats) he would be eligible to join the junior orchestra, if he liked.
I let him choose where we sat in the auditorium (on the cello side, halfway between the wall and the aisle; we had the whole row to ourselves), and he explored the fold-down seats and asked all sorts of questions about the theatre (he thought we were going to a movie theatre, for some reason). When the lights went down for the orchestra to tune, he caught sight of the conductor just offstage, and he turned to me. “It’s Stewart!” he said with great excitement, and I had to laugh; he made it sound like he and the conductor were old buddies.
Overall, he was very good. They played the music “all in a row,” as he told HRH back home; in other words, there was no intermission, and the concert lasted just over an hour. He was a bit squirmy, climbing from his seat to my seat to the seat on my other side, or lying down across my lap with his sweater over him as a blanket, but he wasn’t disruptive or distracting, and we never needed to resort to pulling out his books or colouring books. His first favourite bit was the Maple Leaf Rag (who can resist ragtime?), and he pretended to play a trombone through it, humming into his straw bottle of apple juice and moving his free hand forward and back in front of him. The guy sitting behind us thought it was hilarious. The Joplin was blown out of the water by Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite, however. It may have been partially due to the fact that in the music he could hear the story that Stewart had briefly outlined for the audience before the piece began. “Mama,” he whispered during the first movement, “do firebirds have fur?” “No,” I said, “they have beautiful, long feathers made of flames.” “Not the babies,” he said authoritatively. “They have fuzz.” “Oh,” I said, “so they get their fire-feathers when they grow up?” “Yes,” he said, quite firmly.
He crawled onto my lap at one point to snuggle, and had his head on my shoulder when the first crashing chord of the Danse Infernale began. He must have jumped six inches into the air before sitting straight up and staring at the orchestra. I had to try very hard not to giggle, and I could hear the guy behind us muffling a snicker, too. The boy sat up very straight and applauded loudly when it was over, the first piece for which he’d done so with such enthusiasm. He talked about it had been the best part of the concert and about firebirds and baby firebirds all the way out and through the parking lot, to the amusement of other patrons. It seems that my son is a budding Stravinsky fan.
He’d been so good that we picked up a bonus doughnut on the way home (chocolate-glazed Boston Cream, this time).
Throughout the weekend, HRH finished moving us out of the basement room we’d been using as an office with the upstairs neighbours. We can’t afford the extra money each month, not when our half of the rent for that room is equivalent to the cost of the gas we use monthly. So HRH has moved us and our laundry equipment back into the garage, which is even cosier than it was in its first incarnation of his office, and has the added bonus of now having room for the table we sit around to game once a month or so. We purged a lot of stuff, as well. It’s currently a bit tight, but people will be coming to remove some of the equipment we’ve been holding for them over the next couple of weeks, so we’ll be able to actually get the bikes in and out again.