Summer vacation means travel for so many. Images of fun family vacations, time spent at the beach maybe with the kids getting sunburned and building sandcastles. Maybe everyone going camping and toasting marshmallows. Me? I don’t travel so much, and I never have. The one exception has been various geek-culture centered conventions. For a while in college and just after, I would travel up and down the east coast and hit a fair number of events, hanging out with friends and trying not to be too bad a leech (and let’s be honest, probably failing.) It was fun and I met some amazing people.
These days, thanks to that whole “adulting” thing that is so trendy anymore I’m back to not traveling much, but when a con comes to town I like to swing by if I can, and when I know some of my friends will be there too, I make extra effort. So yesterday I loaded up my dad and my son and we hopped a Metro train down to DC and went to AwesomeCon. It was busy. Very, very busy.
Unfortunately, for a newly-minted first grader who gets stressed out by both loud noises and crowds, it was not quite so laid back a day as I’d hoped. It can be so easy to forget that something you are comfortable with can put someone else straight into survival mode, and when that someone’s your kid… well. He handled it well enough, mostly,
thanks to having some ear protection and finding robots at more than one booth. He didn’t speak to anyone, though— not my friends who he’s met before and is a shy fan of,
not the nice library lady who had a cool programable robot at her booth, not the NASAand NIST scientists set up with fun activities for kids (who were very cool and seemed honestly excited to talk to him even when he didn’t answer,) not even Santa Claus (who was likewise
cool with the kid and gave him a candy cane anyway.)
Still… He managed to convince me to buy him a comic book, and hit literally every booth in the not insignificant science area, and when we were finally walking out he pointed and got very excited to see a girl about his age in a Ladybug costume.
On the whole, I thought he’d done pretty well for a silent, wide-eyed kid insisting that his mom carry him through most of the event. I figured he’d put the experience in the back of his mind as something he’d done and lived through safely, and maybe someday he’d want to go to another convention. As I was tucking him into bed, he asked a new question as part of his long, well-practiced stalling routine.
“Mom, can we go back to the convention tomorrow and get another Star Power book?”
That’s my boy.