sxsw at josLast week in Austin, TX we had approximately 200,000 extra folks visiting our fair city. Yes, those zeros are all in the right place. Between the film fest, interactive fest and music fest, Austin was running on some high energy for a couple weeks straight. It was exciting to say the least. And exhausting too! For all of us.

 The school’s spring break coincides with all of this March madness and so makes for a perfect excuse for us as a family to wander the streets in search of good music, friends, and tons of fun. And that is not a figure of speech. With windows open to the spring winds, music was quite literally wafting in from every direction. Bands were set up in parking lots and backyards and alleyways and make shift stages and this whole town was rocking. The funny thing was, all week long, we barely left our little 10 block circle. No need to really because while I know there was stuff all over town, one didn’t have to wander far to get a taste of South by. And driving across town these two weeks took on a whole new meaning. So we biked, walked and hung out day after day in our own little n’hood.

Starting Wednesday we’d head out late afternoon in search of whatever band was playing. At some venues we knew the schedule ahead of time and actively sought out bands we liked. For others, we were just winging it, coming across whatever band was there. Other times we went where we knew we’d find friends, and then there were those chance meetings in the streets which would determine our next direction. The kids come and go with a little more freedom and the candy store down the street becomes a nearly daily occasion.  A total free for all fun fest.

Friday my oldest had a craft market in the yard with a friend and together they made over a hundred dollars selling sewn wallets and jewelry and woven scarves. People were here from LA, Chicago, NYC, London and even one guy here from South Africa. Meanwhile her younger sister sold $50.00 worth of lemonade on the sidewalk talking with people from all walks of life and all points on the map.

By Sunday afternoon we were feeling a little crispy. We hung out in the yard all morning and afternoon and then, after careful deliberation, decided to take in just. one. more. show. Knowing it was close made the decision easier. Knowing we could retreat if need be made it seem like a chance worth taking. And so we headed out. Packed up some pesto pasta for dinner and biked down the street to see friends. Knowing Carrie would be there made it that much more inviting!

We ate. We danced. We played. We visited. And then. The fighting began. It was quite quickly evident we had reached our fill. And then some. Still brawling we headed out. Waving goodbye as we departed. By 6:30 we were back at home. In the bath and shower. Chilling in the yard. Big exhales. Getting ready for the week ahead.

The end of SXSW is always a little bittersweet. We’re ready to end the party. Ready to exit the mayhem. But always a little sad that the festive free-for-all fun is over. But always glad too that it’s time for a little familial slow down yet again.

A big exhale. A recap of the week. And voila, family life is ours again.