Though they’re sporting Miles and Monk t-shirts, make no mistake–this year’s Jazz Festival was less about the music and more about French fries, which Oscar proclaimed “the best ever,” and a single white feather, for which Edgar declared audibly and with gusto, “Thank you, bird!” It was also about Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, a hula hoop given to them briefly by a professional (?) hula hooper, rocks, a search for dinosaur bones, somersaults, and running as fast as their legs would allow. It was also about wrestling with one another, which occasionally sent gentle ladies into states of maternal worry.
And for me–though I did get a brief listen of Brian Blade and Christian McBride–it was about watching the evolution of the boys’ interactions with each other and with the festival, which they have been attending since they were in strollers. Each year brings a new adventure. And though bottle feedings and diaper changes have given way to visits to the food stands and the illustrious port-a-johns, we’re still not at the place where they can sit for long periods and listen attentively to the music. There are glimpses, but that moment is still many festivals hence.
But that’s okay . . . the secret to enjoying any experience with young children is keeping expectations reasonable. It’s not reasonable to expect an eight-hour attention span or a conversation on counterpoint of a soon-t0-be four- and five-year-old.
And just like the ocean air that they breathe each day, we hope the sounds they’re hearing seep into their souls and that not only will they never know a year when they weren’t at the Jazz Festival but that they will always feel free to experience it in a way that makes sense to them.