Friday, May 01, 2009

Happy Valborg

I took the kids to the Stocksund Valborg bonfire last night - high time to celebrate the end of winter! We biked by a friend of Annika's, then down to the waterfront park, taking two extra kids with us (their dad was walking with their third). Of course, the moment we arrived, all 5 kids vanished in the chaos... 

Benjamin's eyes lit up when he saw the fire and the waterfront reeds, racing to the water's edge to get a six-footer that he could light in the bonfire. I tried (in vain) to point out to him that - if it indeed caught fire - then what? But he was already dreaming of lighting things on fire and was beyond reach. (Consolation note - he was not the only one with that thought.)

Christopher found some friends and a tree to climb, and I had a moment's panic when I saw a kid on the highest branches (not mine, whew!) . Otherwise he busied himself investigating the many small campfires around. 

David (age 6, not mine) also raced for the reeds, revealing a squashed marshmellow he had brought in his pocket that he was hoping to grill.  

And Annika and Ellen both raced off to the waterfront with some football friends, all of whom seemed to be fascinated by what some older boys were doing (I have no idea...)

Which left me, the coat lady, wandering around, trying to catch an occasional glimpse of my children (and the two extra) in the crowds, chatting with friends and enjoying the warmth of the fire. It was a stunning evening - in other words, it wasn't raining or snowing - and the fire was in full blaze. (We missed last year's when they apparently couldn't get it lit, but the scent of lighter fluid in the air made it clear that this year, they were taking no chances.) And it was a wonderful time to be in Sweden - where my children could race around with friends and strangers, with all the natural dangers presented by fire and water - and I could be confident that somewhere, somehow, some adult would step in if they got too close to danger.

It was admittedly quite hard to convince the masses that it was time to leave. I found the boys huddled in a group by the water where an older boy was demonstrating the combination of aerosol cans and fire - when they weren't lighting fireworks. Annika and Ellen had lost interest in the older boys, and were playing tag with 6-year-olds (hope this phase lasts!)

I had previously left the car at Annika's friend's house, a wise move since the kids were pretty exhausted after their evening. And it was pretty dark at 10pm, when we finally left. It turned out to be a good plan, though Christopher still managed to throw a fit the entire way back to the car - it is beyond me how a kid can both cry uncontrollably yet still see and breathe enough to ride a bike. All in all, a fun evening!

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