Avalon's Army of Angels
September 21, 2008
Renfest and Mom's Birthday at Grammo's
I am officially one year older and more decrepit.  
May the universe have mercy on my aging soul...

My birthday wish was the same as in many, many
previous years - a family trip to the Ohio
Renaissance Festival!  Renfests take a lot of
crap in modern society.  But to all you
nay-sayers...I say "Fie on you!"  That's right, may
the pox of the stinky elders come rest in your
pantaloons.  Renfests are fun, silly, and a great
escape from life every now and again.

We've been ardent Ohio Renfest participants
since the year it started.  Egads, it causes me
great pain to admit this...but that was 20 years
ago!  We used to dress up and go with a passel
of friends, but in recent years - have found the
joy in keeping it as a family-only day.  I'll have too
many decades of this life that I'll be forced to
share my children with their friends and spouses.  
For now, I've become quite the miser, hoarding
every personal, private moment I can get.  

Some day, I'll try to gather photos from our
previous visits - and share how much this
delightful festival has meant to us.  It truly is a
part of our family history, and created lifelong
memories for us of special moments with our
departed god-Daddy, Papa Steve.  He used to
meticulously plan new costumes for he and Joe,
and we would fret over our potential purchases
for weeks before we went.  Walking the same
paths we shared with him, somehow brings him
back with us, even if only in wistful thoughts...

The gentlemen you see pictured to the right, are
the "Bold and Stupid Men", the Swordsmen.  
They've been performing at the festival since a
few years after it began.  Years ago, Aurora
began drawing pictures for them, as a thank you
for their show.  Each year, they would make a
giant production of thanking her for her art - and
would frame the new creation.  What we didn't
know, was that they kept each drawing, and hung
them in their office.  One year, they brought out
several years worth of art, and displayed it on the
stage the day we were there.  They made Aurora
feel like the most special little girl on the planet
that day, and have for several years since.  They
will never know, how much they influenced her.  I
believe that part of her desire to be creative and
design, is because they helped feed that artistic
spirit so many years ago.  They are a testimony
to how much you can affect a person's life, with a
simple act of kindness.

In that same vein, I have to introduce you to the
wonderful woman you see pictured with Aurora
and Ambrosia.   In this picture (on this day), she
was "Lady Rose".  However, to us, she will
forever be, "our fairy".  We met our fairy for the
first time, when Aurora was less than 2.  She
played with Aurora while my dad held her,  
capturing her heart.  The following year, our fairy
told Aurora how fairies came to be, how we could
feel for fairy kisses, and how to believe in them.  
She began a lifelong love of fairies and magic
and all-things-wonderful for Aurora.  She took a
little girl, and showed her magic exists in the
world - through imagination and creativity.  She
has held an unbelievably important place in my
heart.  Every time one of my girls loses herself in
fantasy play, I silently send her a thought of

This year, is the first time we've "met" the fairy as
Lady Rose.  Aurora and I couldn't believe our
eyes!  We spent a tremendous amount of time
chatting with her.  She gave the girls lessons on
being a proper Renaissance lady.  But mostly,
she, again, gave them a beautiful memory.  I was
so thrilled to be able to tell her how much she's
meant to us.  Although, I don't know that I'll ever
really be able to explain it to anyone.  She made
real for my girls.  How can you thank
someone for that?  How can you explain how your
heart grows wings when you see a certain look
on your daughter's face?  I suppose you can't.  I
just hope someone, someday, gives her heart an
equal gift.  

The "Mudde Show" pictured on the right, has
been with Renfest since the beginning.  We've
laughed with these three fantastic actors since
day 1.  Several of their lines have become family
jokes, and their stories have infected our family
history.  They don't know us from Adam, but they
hold a dear place in our hearts.

What you may notice in the Renfest pics, is a
conspicuous absence or two.  We planned to
leave Anam with my parents.  We knew he'd far
prefer to run and jump with Pappo, than be
hauled around all day to different shows he
wouldn't understand, and stores he couldn't go
in.  What we NEVER planned on, was leaving
Avalon behind.  Like I said, we've been going to
this festival for 20 years.  As each new baby has
arrived, they've gone with us.  The girls have
literally grown up with this as a staple of our Fall
experiences.  That's what made this so hard to

A few days before Renfest, Avalon began talking
about it.  She asked if maybe she could stay with
Grammo and Pappo too.  Avalon used to LOVE
Renfest!  Then again, she used to LOVE art
fairs, festivals, and shopping too.  Not now.  Now
- public places bring nothing but panic.  She's
terrified every time we try to take her somewhere.
 She screams if any of us stray too far from her.  

The first hint of it was just a few weeks after the
May surgery.  There was an outdoor arts festival
in Worthington, a Columbus suburb.  We've been
to this particular festival before, and to others like
it - dozens of times.  So, we thought it would be a
great way to get "out" and have a nice, cheap
family day.  In a word...it was
awful. Avalon spent
nearly the whole day in one form of a meltdown
or another.  She panicked if I got out of her sight.
 She cried if any of us seemed to be lagging
behind, or getting out in front.  She completely
fell apart when Daddy took a purchase back to
the car.  She was

I tried explaining the nightmare to the doctor, but
he looked at me like I was nuts.  Eventually, we
kind of convinced ourselves that we'd just taken
Avalon out too soon - she needed more time to
rest.  Over the Summer we tried several more
outings, each with the same result...abject panic.  
It became a frequent complaint to doctors and
nurse practitioner friends:  "Why can't Avalon do
the things she used to love?"  I never have
gotten a good answer.  

So here we were, planning another family outing.  
We thought this one would be OK.  The people
are pretty spread out at the festival.  During
shows, we promised Avalon she could sit
between all of us.  I promised to be the one to
push her wheelchair, and that I would never go in
a store she couldn't go in.  I promised her 100%
attention...but it didn't help.  Eventually, this is
what she told me,
"Mommy, will you be mad if I don't go?  I
don't like those big places now, they scare me.  I
don't like lots of people, I'm afraid I'm going to
lose you.  I just want to go to Grammo's where its
safe.  I'm sorry.  I just get so scared.  Maybe
when I'm 7 I'll be brave again."

It broke my heart.  Part of me is so proud that
she's cognizant of her new limitations.  I'm glad
that she's self-protecting and knows she doesn't
handle these situations well anymore.  And part
of me is FURIOUS that the simple act of going to
a festival or a store has been stolen from her.  
How dare he?!  Damn it!  This little kid loved to
go look at pretty things, and pick out all of her
favorite yellow things.  Now, she's terrified that I
will somehow be stolen away from her.  That's
horrible!  While the Angry part is big, the biggest
part of all is just Sad.  I'm heartbroken, this
scared, whiny, fragile little girl is not the warrior I
handed over to that man on May 28th.  This is a
damaged little girl, and I'm playing heck trying to
convince people how different she is.  

OK, I'm back from the sad part...back to being
really angry....

After Renfest, we headed back to Grammo and
Pappo's so the kids could spoil me rotten.  If
there is one thing my kids do well - its take care
of Mommy on special days!

As you can see in the pictures, all girls pitched in
on making my apple dumplings.  No silly cake for
me - I'm a gigantic fan of Amish apple dumplings.  
They require lots of rolling and stuffing and
dough preparation.  The girls get sticky, and
ooey, and love every minute of it!  Little man
didn't do much to help, but he sure provided
more than his fair share of comic relief.  That's
about par for the course with him.

Once we were all back together, my birthday
finished up in perfect fashion.  I had my kiddos,
and that's all I'll ever need to have a perfect day.  
So I may be a whoppin' year older, but that also
means I've had another wonderful year with all of
them, and that's the best gift any mom can ever
wish for.  ;-)
Dirk Perfect (Douglas Mumaw)
Guido Crescendo (David Woolley): !
Ambrosia is the dark purple dress
Our beloved "Fairy" - this day, she
gave the girls lessons in being a lady
The "Mudde Show"
A friendly, funny knight
Yes - we LOVE Renfest!
Sticky Mickies!
Silly Willies!
Cutie Patooties!