We decided to have Fern’s birthday party at Dolores Park, in the Mission district. Dolores Park is “the” go-to spot on beautiful days in the city. It is always several degrees warmer in the Mission, and on sunny weekend days, the slopes are covered with groups of people… hoola hooping, tight-rope walking, kick-ball playing and just plain chilling. It is wonderful for people watching as the park is situated quite close to several hubs of hipster central. Just around the corner is some of the best ice cream in town, as well as my ever beloved Tartine restaurant, and a favorite Saturday afternoon pastime is to grab a gougere and a cup of earl grey ice tea to appreciate along with the sun. Warmth is such an infrequent visitor to our city by the bay, that when it arrives, everyone is drawn outside by the magic and wonder of inhabiting a body that does not have to cringe against the cold slap of the Pacific breeze.
However, on this particular Saturday, the sky was still recovering from a bizarre weather pattern. Heavy clouds and spitty drizzle had terrorized us the day before, and the morning of her birthday the weather was still fickle. I decided to trust in our plan…our house is really unequipped for large groups of people and Fern becomes so giddy when she is surrounded by plants and trees…so we crossed our fingers and toes and went for it. It was touch and go all day until our arrival, when the clouds lifted, the air dried up and the sun (glorious sun!) came out. The spots I had thought we would stake claim on were already in use by what can only be described as a mariachi convention. I’m not sure what was going on, but it involved multiple families, a lot of barbeque smoke and a very bad soundsystem. We almost thought we were foiled…when two tables far across the park (and far enough away from the music) opened up. I grabbed balloons and jars of homemade pickles and the baby and schlepped. And then did that about three more times. It ended up being the perfect spot.
Daddy and the big girl.
The day had finally come to open the Dandelion Wine! Shane did the honors, pouring little glasses for all of our bemused (and somewhat skeptical) guests. Sips were taken, followed by silence and then exclamations of “Wow! It’s really nice!”. It was really yummy…a little sweet, a little fizzy, floral and fruity with a dry finish reminiscent of saki. I will definitely be doing this again. Success!
Cleo is one of our housemates and a good friend to us, and to Fern.
So much of my family was there, it was so special. My two cousins, Kristen and Craig, and I were good friends when we were kids, and now we all have children of our own. Having them there brought close the interweaving of life and blood and earth and generations….amazing.
Trying to get a good shot of all the cousins was like herding cats. Craig’s son Preston (far right)is just 3 months younger than Fern and Kristen’s son Christopher (center, next to Fern) is just a few months older. I can’t wait for them to grow up playing together, joyfully bossed around by Kate (far left) and Erin (center), Kristen’s older girls.
We wanted to wait until everyone had arrived to give Fern her cupcake, and it was waaayyyy past nap time. First she had a mini-meltdown when we took the candle away from her to light it, and then she took the cupcake and repeatedly crammed it into her face with a sleepless glaze over her eyes. She loved it…and so did her audience. There are some other cupcake pictures out there, as well as lovely shots of all our friends, but I want to get this post up…perhaps I will come back and edit them in here later. In all, it was a beautiful day, a true extravaganza. There was laughter, pickles, dog shenanigans, community, family and lovelovelove.
At the end of the day, Shane presented us with a card from all of our friends. Inside was a very touching message and absolutely mind-blowing gift. It was all Jeff and I could do to keep our composure, and I was completely dumbstruck. We are still trying to come up with a response and words of thanks, and hope to send out a letter in the next week. In the meantime, if you are one of our village…you know who you are…thank you. From the bottom of our hearts and souls. We knew we were lucky, but we had no idea we were so blessed in love and generosity. Thank you.
More to come…still working on my reflection around the past year and also my love letter to my daughter. Also, Foraging Friday this week will be scrumptious! I know because I’m going to go have another piece right now!