This past Friday night was our wee town’s Festival of Lights or, as the locals call it, Light Up. I helped with journals in Emily’s class on Friday morning and the majority of kids had a variation of the following entry:
I am going to Light Up tonight. I am going to eat Mini Donuts. I am going to watch the fireworks.
(I love how Mini Donuts are a highlight for families other than ours. Mini Donuts for everyone!)(Also, cotton candy and fries.)(Then, gut rot.)
Light Up is something that we attend every year, and have since before we’d even moved here, so it was our twelfth. 12 years! We’re Old. I think I’d have to say that this year’s Light Up was our best one yet, partially because of the weather (So warm! I didn’t even wear gloves!), partially because of the great friends we got to spend time with, and partially because last year was our worst Light Up experience.
Last year, Matthew had his Man Period and did not want to go to Light Up, even though he knew we had to. I love it, the kids love it, and you can’t really skip it, because who doesn’t like Light Up? I told him to put on his big boy panties, choose to have a good attitude, and get into the car, already. He did, we went, and it only went downhill from there.
Main Street is closed to traffic during Light Up, and is full of vendors selling treats and people milling about. At 7:00, there is a countdown and then the switch is flipped and all of the lights go on. The crowd oohs and ahhhs and then you walk around, check out the vendors and stores, and have quick chats with the friends you run into.
Shortly after the lights went on we started walking and ran into a couple I knew from the office. I stopped to chat and Matthew and the dudes kept walking. I had Emily with me, so once the conversation was over, we beelined it ahead and found the guys near the coffee shop. I gave Matthew a good-natured hard time about leaving us behind, and we carried on.
Soon after I was stopped by an older lady from our church who we don’t know well, but she wanted to chat. Next thing I knew, Matthew and the dudes were gone. AGAIN. Emily and I tried to find them, to no avail. I called, I texted … nothing. Emily and I ended up sitting on the curb in front of the hardware store and watched the fireworks from afar, because we didn’t know where our family went.
We got reunited eventually and as we walked to the van I gave Matthew a hard time, but this time it wasn’t so good-natured.
Light up is a FAMILY event, and my family kept disappearing on me! Why did you keep walking? Especially after the FIRST time you did it and I told you it wasn’t cool?
(Insert another five minutes of ranting here.)
What I didn’t realize at the time (I was too upset and focused on letting a certain husband know about it) was that Pastor Larry (Matthew’s boss) and his wife were walking about twenty feet behind us and heard my entire tirade. When Matthew got to work on Monday, Larry mentioned it and we had a good laugh about it that night at dinner. (Matthew had seen the error of his ways and apologized profusely all weekend.)
Fast forward to this year, where more people had heard the story of last year’s failure. Matthew had three different coworkers stop by his office on Friday afternoon to remind him not to lose his wife at Light Up. He and the kids were kind of hilarious at the start of the evening. He held my hand so tight — like you would of a two-year-old — and any time I moved more than a foot away from the family, they got so worried. We were sitting on the curb eating donuts and needed water so I offered to run across the street to get one. All four of them were all ‘We’ll be RIGHT HERE. We won’t go ANYWHERE.’
They stayed put, and we had some good laughs about it when we ran into people who knew the story and asked if we were managing to stay together. We never got separated even once all evening, which is pretty impressive considering the crowds. We ate treats (and got gut rot), we watched the fireworks from across the street, and we listened to some great live music. Nobody got upset and nobody had to listen to the wrath of Angella. Win, win.