Monday, June 13, 2011

Yep, I Took a Baby to Bonnaroo.

There are dozens of voices in my head, and they're all telling me how to parent. I've struggled to ignore that thrum of voices long enough to listen to my own one voice, which is surprisingly clear and wise. It's such an important thing to struggle for: To give Tessa the childhood that we think she should have and not the childhood that anyone else thinks she should have. 

When it comes to taking a baby to Bonnaroo, there are even more opinions ricocheting around my noggin--mostly, all the voices that I've heard over the years saying, 'I would never bring a baby to Bonnaroo.' 

I'd known for awhile that I'd have a friend's guest pass to the festival on Sunday if I wanted it. And I purposefully didn't look very hard for a sitter for Tess. I wanted her with me. I wanted her to experience the sights and sounds of Bonnaroo, which is like another planet. After a sound two-hour nap and a big lunch, I packed her up and took her to Manchester, Tennessee--about a 75-minute drive from Nashville. 

And I am so, so, so happy I did! She had so much fun and was so happy to see her da-da. So was I. It had been a lonely few days for me doing some single-parenting. Somehow it's lonelier to be alone with a baby than to just be alone. 

I stayed for five hours--heard some Amos Lee and some Cold War Kids, hung out in the shady area backstage and ate popsicles, took Tess to the Kids' Zone, and introduced her to some Knoxville friends we hadn't seen in too long. She slept the whole way home. 


Nekos Barnes said...

Now Ellen, you know how many times I have been to Bonnaroo and how many experiences I have had there.

Yesterday was by far, the best time I have ever had at Bonnaroo and it is all due to the bean and you. Thank you for ignoring those voices in your brain (and my voice to by-the-way)

Tessa Jean Barnes said...

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Briana Shepley said...

Good for you! I'm sure I would have made the same decision :) How fun and special for you all!

Andi B said...

You guys are the best parents around. Nothing better than raising a hip, smart, and beautiful baby. Congrats to you both on being amazing.

Foster said...

Good for you guys! I would totally take my daughter if I were still living in Nashville. Kids have to experience the world (side note: my parents were total hippies and started taking me to concerts/festivals when I was, um, 3 months old. I turned out fabulously!).

kristance ann said...

love that last picture of nekos and tessa! good for you for making your own choices and not letting others bully and make you feel like a horrible mother! i've found that most of the time, people need to keep their "advice" to themselves.

Mama Mandolin said...

Oh you guys are so cute! And that last picture? heart melted.

Laura Mauk said...

I wouldn't have made the same decision. But now I know that that would be wrong!

I love these photos and that you went and it turned out to be so wonderful.

I love: "Somehow it's lonelier to be alone with a baby than to just be alone."

I love that you ignored the voices (which I need to do more of.)

And I love your husband's comment here. So sweet.


Joy of Cooking said...

I love this, Ellen. I would not have taken a baby to Bonnaroo but then again, I myself have never wanted to go either! But I do respect your openness and your bravery. I think we all have so much to learn and to share as far as how we do this parenting thing. And I agree about the loneliness with a baby. There is nothing better than being together as a family - no matter WHERE or HOW you do it!

Anna said...

Good for you!! My family has been going to the Winnipeg Folk Festival for years and next summer we will have a 9 month old in tow. I can't wait for our little one to experience all the sights and sounds. AND, Not going to let a baby stop me from doing the things I enjoy!

Cindy said...

I love each and every picture of your adventure with you little one. I love the blue popsicle picture.

Lil Muse Lily said...

Ellen, I think that's the right way to parent. To do what is right for you, your little one and your family.
Those are the times she will remember and cherish the most. The times that you shared the "you" and what you do with her.
You should take her every year. :)

Carey said...

I always read your blog, but for some reason forget to comment! Bad me! But anyways I love all of your adventures with Tess. You are such a rocking mom! I am actually from Tennessee (Clarskville), so your life and Nashville stories always make me homesick in a good way.

Glad you all had so much fun at Bonaroo!

The Sugar Mountain said...

I LOVE that you took your baby to a music festival! We take our babies everywhere and the little one still rides in the sling just about all the time. Your fam and blog are both beautiful. I found it through Blair's blog at "a case..." and am going to follow to keep up! xo
PS I blog at

Jazmyn Alexandria said...

I just found your blog through Top Baby Blogs and I know this may sound weird but I LOVE finding other biracial family bloggers! Your daughter is so adorable and I hope my daughter's hair turns out as beautiful as yours!! :)

Oh Jazmyn♥

felicia said...

I have always taken my son and now my daughter everywhere with me. I took my son to Virgin fest when he was 4 because I really wanted him to experience Bob Dylan. Who cares what other people think!

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