In 2004, on the last week of April, Michael and I had our very first date. He took me to the Festival of the Arts in Oklahoma City, and we picked a quiet spot in a shady patch of green grass to sit and talk for hours. Every Spring we go back to that same spot, with our wonderful food in hand, and spend time enjoying the beautiful weather, and remembering how many years have passed since our first time there, together. Both shy and 21 years old, trying not to say the wrong thing and hoping we didn't have food in our teeth.
Last night we took Elodie, and it felt like the first time we were there all over again. Through her eyes, I am starting to see the world and the memories we share in a different light. Things that have started to feel routine and ordinary are becoming new and exciting, again. We are starting over with new life, a blank canvas...and showing her the beauty of life through our eyes.
With these realizations, I am also starting to become aware that one day I will also have to teach Elodie about things that are not always easy. She will have to understand change, and how we must all go through it to move through life and keep working forward.
When we went to find our spot, it was gone. All of it. The grass, the hill, and even our tree.
photo from April 2007
Ripped out, and turned into something new for a city project. It was a place I didn't recognize, and for our 8th trip to the Oklahoma City Festival of Arts, it felt like our first time. I was a little disappointed that we never got to show Elodie our spot. The place where we fell in love every year until the first year we brought her to see the shining sun through the trees, herself.
But life changes, whether we like it or not. And on a new hill, with new sod and new memories to be made, we found another spot. One that will hopefully not be ripped out anytime soon, to make way for skyscrapers and sidewalks :)
In our new spot we ate yummy Brazilian food, and candied cashews and pecans - still warm.
Elodie slept, and cried, and ate.
I watched the sunshine and shadows from the trees dancing across her tiny face.
And fell in love with this scruffy face, all over again.
And okay, maybe our new spot isn't so bad. I could probably get used to it.
We walked around the gardens for awhile, looking at all the new changes.
Elodie snoozed through the music, walk by the water, and over bridges.
She even snoozed through her Dad racing her around full speed while making car noises.
I tried to find the most plain things to eat, so she wouldn't be gassy and fussy all night. Thinking I was safe with a chicken and avocado wrap, it turned out to be fried (gassy baby), spicy (gassy baby), and covered in raw cabbage (super gassy baby). It was worth it. Even if she farted all night in her sleep and kept me up.
When the sun went down and the crowd thinned, we went to look at all the photography, paintings, sculptures, and jewelery. We spent so long there that the artists were starting to shut down their booths, and our feet were starting to hurt.
We drove home with one tired baby in the backseat - who didn't make a peep.
And so, life begins with Elodie. A first time for every dozen + times we have followed our same traditions. Life is starting over, through her new (and sleepy) eyes.
If you live in the Oklahoma City Metro, you can find information about the Festival of the Arts here, on their website. It is going on for the rest of this weekend, so stop by and eat some yummy food from all over, look at the art, and find your own shady spot to make new memories.