When I was 20 and Pete and Maura Kennedy were playing at a 21+ venue, they went out of their way to make sure we got to go to the show. Maura wrote to the venue that she would personally guarantee that we would not drink alcohol, signing her name to it in a show of trust that meant the world to me. Ever since then we have joked that they are my adoptive parents, having adopted us for that one night. She told me that if the venue hadn’t agreed to let us in that she and Pete were going to go play on the sidewalk.
They would have, and they would have enjoyed every second of it. I’ve seen them play the main stage at Falcon Ridge, and I’ve seen them play in that bar with only preoccupied evening barflies and a group of underage kids. And everything in between. They have never looked less than in love with what they are doing. I’ve always said I think they could play to an empty room and put on a show equal to all others.
When Lorelei was one week old we met up with them in Chapel Hill to introduce them to their “grandchild.” It was her first trip out of the house for anything other than appointments. This is part of her story.
The first live music Rowan ever heard was from inside, as we listened to The Kennedys and The Nields play in Virginia. Part of his story.
Last night was the first time they got to meet Rowan outside of my uterus. I stood in the doorway of the sanctuary of Unity Center for Peace swaying to the music with Rowan strapped to my chest and thought back to the day five years ago when I was in the exact same place with Lorelei. As I watched her dance like no one was watching – twirling, leaping, pointing, and completely lost in the music, I lowered my nose to Rowan’s hair and breathed in with my eyes closed.
My life can be measured in this music.
Watching them play for everyone, but also for no one, reminds me of finding joy where you are, making life what you want it to be.
If there has ever been a year where I need an infusion of hope, it’s this past year. Rowan’s very early arrival has threatened to sink me at times. I found a few minutes of peace last night as Lorelei drifted off to sleep in Zach’s lap, and Rowan snuggled into my chest. I thought how lucky we were to be in that place at that moment. I’ve grown up inside this music, and my kids get this as an inheritance of sorts.
My request was “Life is Large.”
Because it is indeed.