On of my favorite pictures of me as a baby was taken during nap time when I’m about two years old.  I’m lying in a bunk, maybe on a sailboat or at my grandparent’s lake house, with huge headphones on – the kind that are black vinyl and plug into the 8-track or record player.  I bet Pink Floyd, The Moody Blues or Fleetwood Mac was blaring, drowning out the adult noise in the background.  I believe I’ve needed loud music in my life since then, and have vowed to start our children out with a love of music.

I’m not sure if it is because we are no longer in our early twenties or that we have kids, but concerts are a lot different these days.  And when we told people we were headed to the Gorge for a three day music festival with our babes in tow, two nights of camping in our new tent, most thought we were crazy.  Then we had to remind ourselves that our kids are super adaptable because of all the places they go and have been: restaurants, doctor appointments, Washington D.C. Smithsonian museums, weddings, Texas, movie theaters, sail trips, skiing, etc. 

Maybe one bonus of not living by family is having highly adaptable children that can and do go everywhere and behave well with you because it is so hard to find people to watch them both at a moment’s notice and time and time again.  

We bought tickets long before I knew I was pregnant, and the only change I made after the fact was the inclusion of a cot on our packing list.  Hey, this Mama doesn’t sleep on the ground!  We caravanned with Luke’s brother Matt and his soon-to-be-baby-mama, Shannon.  She’s due six weeks after us and the way babies arrive, they might even be born on the same day.  

Shannon also has a daughter named Maddie who, as a Freshman in high school, is way more grounded, polite and generally on top of it all than I ever was.  So, way to go Shannon.  And, we’re all pretty excited about this new family inclusion.
Just over 43,000 people came to the sold out show, and maybe 5,000 suckers (including us) shelled out extra money for something called Premier Camping.  

With this coveted arm band as entrance only into the site, the premiers received a total of ten yucky porta-potties, a drippy sink for washing hands and four showers with hours-long waits. All this aside, the Gorge looks like a Hollywood backdrop or mini-Grand Canyon with over ninety degree daytime heat and typical high desert forty-five degree nights.  A generator-run  RV with only speakers as its body provided sound for the after show techno dance party less than 1/8 mile away that lasted until six o’clock a.m.  I’m so glad our kids have never been able to sleep through silence.  They’ve always needed the rush of a fan, loud CDs like Winnie The Pooh’s soundtrack or much better Gillian Welch or their current favorite The Shins and a night light, or in this case, rave-strobe lights.  The thousand or so woooh hooo” –ers danced like me, only thirteen years ago.  And as I laid awake in our tent, watching our ladies snooze on through, I couldn’t help but think, yeah, my life has changed a bit but at least Luke and I can still rock out.  We set our tent up to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Kings of Lean and Mos Def. Their lyrics traveled with the setting sun over to our s’more-crazed feast.  
There were so many people at the show that were five years old when Janes Addiction was first playing, loud through Longmeadow speakers and in the back of my friend’s green Mustang! Walking around, we felt a bit old, and me, pregnant.  We nodded to the two other families we saw and laughed at the horror on some of the faces, “Wow, you’re like really pregnant.  So when you pee, it is because something inside of you is peeing and you actually pee out its pee.”  And the teenage astonishment of me turning down their offered smoke had me wondering, where is it o.k. for pregnant ladies to smoke and party?  
The Bob Dualie stroller was a lifesaver.   It provided shade, a place for the ladies to sit and a way for them to not be flip-flop or dirty bare-feet trampled as we meandered our way through the various stages for music.  As our Sherpa it held the night-night blankies and stuffed friends, as well as a change of clothes for nighttime chilly breezes.  Thirteen hours of concerting takes a lot of stuff, you know.  Parking it on the main stage lawn and reclining their seats gave them a great place to nap and sleep.  On my frequent bathroom runs or traverses to the gyro and noodle hut, I could always find my way back.  And, silly concerters thanked us for bringing the ‘baby carriage’ so they could find their friends after their incoming text had arrived: “we’re at the main stage, sitting by the baby carriage..”  When the token outdoor concert beach ball flew through the crowd people made sure it made its way back to Betty, time and time again.  
The Avett Brothers were so incredible I would drive hours and hours to see them play again, and would highly encourage others to do the same.  The Airborne Toxic Event was full of fun, but it was the Murder City Devils that had me feeling like an old lady as I plugged my ears. Yeah, I like punk and I like screaming music but not when you can’t hear the lyrics and what you can hear is all shock value.  ( Inch Nails was a huge shock – I really, really liked them and they sounded amazing, truely.  

Folks around us cheered at Betty dancing with her pig, Wilbur, and were thrilled when Lucy joined in with her tiny dog Ruffey for their 9 Inch Nail hour-and-a-half rock out.  And just before Janes Addiction took the stage, we placed both gals in their pajamas and tucked them in with their blankies.  As soon as the stroller shades went down, they were out.  Perry Ferrell sounded better than he had at the Halloween show at Hammerstein Ballroom in ’97.  Maybe it was the sunset over the gorge or the feeling that it was just us as we sat in front of the stroller, but it rocked.  Luke and I loved the show, and couldn’t believe the girls slept all the way even to their tent-sleeping-bag transfer nearly four hours later.  
As we walked back to our campsite, all you could see were their tiny Converse All-Star feet poking out.  And, of course, exiting the main gates people made the mooo sound as thousands of thousands of people tried to all fit on a tiny narrow walkway.  The high fives of, “rocker kids…nice…starting them young” were funny.  I wondered what I would have said a decade and a half ago, at all my concerts it I say some cool-looking parents and their babes?  And, I wonder what the girls we say about it, years to come.  

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