I should have left Rowan with grandma and let Jay pick him up after work, but when I heard that Missy was bringing her minions and saw that Rowan had already fallen asleep in the car (added to the knowledge that Jay was reluctant to watch him that late) I decided it would be fine. And it was fine, for the first part of the rite. Rowan sat very quietly with me, leaning against my chest, his head underneath my chin. He didn't even ask to nurse until after the gates were open and he did so very briefly. It was the individual offerings to the Kindred that did it. We got up to pour our libation and after that he wanted to take off toward the playground.
Oh the playground, having one in such close proximity to the ritual space was a blessing and a curse. Other parents could leave their kids to play under minor supervision of other adults, but not at Rowan's age. And there was no going back to ritual after he left, except for receiving the blessing, poured into Rowan's sippy cup.
I got to hear bits and pieces of folks' gratefulness to Teututes leading them to the grove and shaping their lives (I missed the main invocation) of oaths being sworn and awards announced. I was literally an outsider to every part of the rite that was Crane-centric and perhaps that was as it should be. It was another grove's home coming rite that I was honored to be at, but I didn't feel a part of this one like I did at Silver Falls. Even though I was welcomed very warmly by the grove leaders and many of the Cranes I knew from festivals.
That being said it was a lovely rite and I did take away some things. There was a lot of focus on attunement and it was the first time I've seen the Two Powers flow into the Establishing of the Sacred Center so naturally and not just feel like another step along the way that we need to get to the Opening of the Gates. For all that tight energy and magic it was balanced by a personal focus on the tribe. And though I missed most of that and left feeling disappointed because of it, I don't know what I would have gotten out of it if I had sat there the whole rite without Rowan. Probably an affirmation that the Cranes are awesome and a feeling of general happiness for them, which I walked away with anyway. It won't be the last 3CG rite I attend but it will probably be the last I take Rowan to alone, at least for a few years.