Sunday, June 26, 2016

In the Air.

I measured my years in traditions. Ones that have been actual, every year traditions, and the ones we have out grown, or moved away from. I cherish the ones that may have only lasted for three years (that's my lower limit, btw, if you can get to three years, it's the real deal) with as much fervor as the ones that I inherited.

I crave the stability of traditions, despite the fact that I am impatient for a life chock-full of adventures and new things every day. The Christmas Story, an Easter Pinata, Flower Mart, a week on Nantucket -- these are my touchstones through all of the chaos I gleefully swirl through.

My parents, and their parents, and back and back used to be responsible for this, but now I seek out opportunities to lay the foundation for new traditions. Drinking in downtown Frederick on Christmas night - Classy? No. A tradition? Absolutely. The Kuma's 5K. A New Year's Day Party (though we inherited/downright stole this one, I treasure it in a nook particularly close to my heart).

My new favorite? The Great Galena Balloon Race.

When I read about it in a Time Out article last summer, I had a vision for a perfect, colorful weekend. Luckily, I had a partner in crime who shared this vision. So we waited patiently, never doubting for a second that this was going to be all the things we wanted it to be.

And. It. Was.

There was a moment as we were driving in that I got the cold dread of "what if this was a mistake," but the moment we saw our first balloon cresting the hill, it granted every wish I had for the weekend.

Galena is far, but not-too-far, and they're pretty loosey-goosey on the "don't bring your own booze or food" rules, making it an economically sound weekend investment in joy and photography.

Deep below my ribs I feel like I want to do this every year. I want to pack up a car, and a cooler, and rent a condo, and spend all evening on the grassy lawn watching balloons float overhead. I want to stay up too late playing games, and then drag myself out of bed for the quiet delight of the sunrise race (and then go immediately back to bed). I want to be surrounded by friends, and kids, and wine juice boxes. I want a catalog of memories of this specific place over years and years.

My goal, by putting this out into the internet tubes, is that I'll hold myself to making it a real thing. Around April of next year (and every year after), I'll send out an email to my Urban Family and Work Boos and get a head count for the condo... and we'll arrange cars, and make pasta salads, and enjoy the most joyful start to summer.

She's pint-sized and amazing.