Last night I got an email telling me that Rocknoceros was going to be doing a free concert in a public park that is not too far away from us, so Ben and I stopped at Subway on our way to pick up Claire to get lunch, and the three of us headed out for a concert/picnic. We drove 3/4 of the way around the park while the kids ogled the playground and the gathering crowd before I found some parking, and then we had quite a hike to get to the area where the concert was, but we arrived and spread our blanket about 3 minutes before they began. I handed out milk cups and sandwiches, and we sat down to eat. After a few minutes of music I told the kids they could get up to dance if they wanted to, and they never sat back down. They ran around like crazy, pausing long enough to watch caterpillars crawling across the grass and take a sip of milk. The last three or four songs found them sitting on the front edge of the gazebo just staring at the band members and their instruments in awe. At the end Claire picked a buttercup and gave it to the guitarist when he came out with the Rocknoceros stamps for their hands. We packed up the remains of our picnic, and then headed to the playground for some more fun before we made our way to the car.
While trying to keep an eye on two kids who of course went in opposite directions I overheard a mom nearby talking to her daughter. She had suggested that her daughter go and say hello to a girl who looked about her age, and the daughter said, "why do you always tell me to go say hello to someone?" The mom explained that they were new to the area, and didn't know people, and that's how you make friends. I caught Claire coming down the slide, pointed the girl out to her, and asked her to go and see if she wanted to climb with her. Without pause Claire ran over, asked her to play, and when the girl said yes Claire grabbed her by the hand and off they ran. The mom caught my eye to tell me thank you, and we struck up a conversation while the kids climbed, slid, and who knows what else.
I was really pleased to see Claire being so confident and sweet with this other girl who was a year older than her. They had a fun time together, and maybe we'll see them again if we make it to the next concert.
All in all, it was a very fun way to spend our lunchtime. Ben was exhausted, and napped for almost 3 hours after we got home. I've already checked out their summer schedule, and we should be able to make several more free shows fit into our schedule (psst - Mom and Dad - they're doing a free show at a library in Charlottesville the week you guys have the kids. Their Louisa show is a week or two later.)