I think I'm doing it. I'm gonna take Anjali to Burning Man.
(caution: i always wax wordy and ponderific when it comes to Burning Man, don't i. . )
Before we got pregnant, we were so convinced that we would be that hard-core family who went no matter what! But as I got more and more pregnant, and Baby became more and more of a reality (and an oven), we skipped last year. As soon as Anjali came out into the world, and I took in how precious and soft and beautiful she was, there was no way I was taking this tiny creature into the harsh desert. She might get hot! Or some careless person might break her! This was the firm stance I took. And sensible people whom I respect agreed wholeheartedly. My husband and friends made plans for the playa, and I made plans for a girlfriend trip to San Diego with Anjali instead.
And then Sealion played a sweet game with Anjali where he hid behind the door of the kitchen and popped out randomly ~ first up high, then down low! From one side, then mysteriously the other! And with a different silly facial expression every time. I might have enjoyed it as much as she did. It reminded me of the childlike open heart that I always rediscover while in Black Rock City. Lightness. Later in the day I was dancing in the kitchen (as I often do) to some inspirational beats. And the idea came to me, really for the first time: I could go to Burning Man with Anjali. Crazy talk. I thought about it some more. As I did, a tension was released in my stomach that I didn't realize I was holding. I found I was liking myself more. I felt hopeful and optimistic. Hmm. This is important to pay attention to.
Scheming, researching, I joined the Kidsville theme camp Yahoo group (yes, for those of you unfamiliar, there is a family camp out there already). Asked some questions, checked in with my self once again (and with my husband). It felt good. I registered myself and Anjali for a camping spot in Kidsville. (Papi will still be camping with our friends over in Kentucky Fried Camp, where they serve fried baloney on white sandwiches and shots of bourbon [not to be interchanged with Jack Daniels] to a long line of hungry playa-goers. them's our peeps!)
I remember talking to one of my friends, a father of a three-year-old who had been to the playa pre-baby. About taking children, he firmly judged, "Burning Man is an *adult* playground." And I nodded. Yes; I'm sure the drug-induced orgies will occur while we're there. But we'll never come upon them, just as I've never seen one in the past. On the playa, as with most of life, you kinda find what you're looking for. Especially between the hours of 7 am and 9pm in Kidsville.
As for my baby ruining my own fun at Burning Man? She *is* fun for me. My experience this year will be different than in years past. But, as I already said, it depends on what you're looking for. I'm looking for a few days in my favorite city with my favorite new person; not for a babysitter while I go play like a non-Mommy (though I respect all those other parents out there who do have a babysitter. That's just not my vision for *me* this time around).
When I entered Black Rock City for the first time, I was awe-struck. I felt as if I had found my home-planet, finally! A whole city full of creative adventurous people living self-imagined possibilities, stretching breaking and stepping past limits. Visionary, expressive, do-ing, solutionary (I like that word; I should send it to Webster's), hugely thought-provoking, and Big.
Anjali doesn't need this homecoming. She is already there. She is Big everyday, and only knows how to live Big. But Mommy would love a reminder. Last year when I chose not to attend, I felt as if I were saying "yes" to my baby. This year, more and more, it's feeling like I have been saying "no" to my self and my spirit. I feel as if I need to go. And, more than the mild temps and fully-clothed citizenry of Berkeley, Anjali needs a Mommy who is in touch with her self and feels free.
I'm ready to say yes.
And the next question I answer yes to ~ why, yes, I have started sewing feverishly. ; )
***wig and goggles not necessarily included.