Empty Bobbins: DragonCon 2014

The name comes from those times when you’re in the middle of a project and your bobbin runs out.  You have to pause what you’re doing and reload.  While you do that, you have a moment to just sit and reflect.  This little commentary that follows was from my old blog and details a trip to DragonCon in 2014 when my daughter was 3, almost 4.

I’ve gone to DragonCon on and off over the years.  I love it when I go, but I find I can tolerate crowds less and less as I get older.  I just don’t want to deal with it much anymore unless I simply have to.  If I go to DragonCon at all, it’s now on Sunday.  That being said, this year my family is sitting it out, but many of my friends are going. It’s a blast to see what all they’re up to!

Of course, the best part of DragonCon, or any Con, is the people-watching, and boy did it not disappoint.  One of the first costumes I saw was a lady with a sizable Toothless the Dragon draped across her shoulder, her arm carefully hidden in the neck and operating the head.  She was very nice and patient, too, as I held my 3 year old close.  Toothless tried to nuzzle my girl, but she was having none of that; she was quite content admiring from afar.  She’s her mother’s child after all.  And this Toothless-wielding lady wasn’t the only person who took special time with my kid.

Waiting for Godot
Literary cosplays are the best!

It’s easy to relegate cosplayers into a group of people vying for attention, usually in Anime getups, and on one level you’d be right.  They do dress to get attention.  But on another level you’d be completely wrong.  They dress for attention not so much for themselves as for their craft, the costume.  And in that craft, they act more like a model for their pride and joy – those costumes they spent weeks, and sometimes months, making and crafting, paying attention to minute details only a select few will truly appreciate.   (I have a lot of friends who are in to cosplay, and sometimes I forget I’m not actually part of that subculture.  I’m just privy to it.)

Back to my daughter.  She didn’t appreciate the Tinkerbell cosplayer’s sewing, makeup, or hair.  Her appreciation was of a much more sincere type, and the Tinkerbell cosplayer was worth every ounce of admiration.  You see, my daughter didn’t see someone dressed as Tinkerbell.  She saw the One, the Actual, The Tinkerbell.  And that Tinkerbell was amazing.  She squatted down to my daughter’s level, something dangerous considering how many people were rushing past, and spoke with her as Tinkerbell would.  My daughter informed her of her own pink wings, and Tinkerbell, without missing a beat, says, “Of, course!  Because you’re a flower fairy.  I’m a tinker fairy….”  My daughter was totally in the know of the world of Pixie Hollow, so she was just enthralled.  And me?  I was so happy that this lady understood how important this moment was for my daughter.  She could have just paused for a quick picture and gone on with her day, and my daughter would have been happy at that.    But no, she took the time to talk and make the moment real for a child she didn’t know.  I don’t know how many times I mouthed “thank you” to her as she chatted, but I still think it wasn’t quite enough.

And most of the cosplayers my daughter was brave enough to approach were just like this.  Even a younger girl, around 8 years old I guess, dressed as Princess Unikitty, was patient and returned the hug my daughter gave her.  A group recreating the Pixie Hollow fairies actually came back to their spot when they saw my daughter standing timidly at the edge of the crowd, too shy to walk up.  They waited and waved to her, and she finally drafted another friend of mine to take her to them.  (What?  Mom’s too lame to go with you to Pixie Hollow?)  They all took their roles seriously in that they knew how much it would mean to the little ones there, wading through thousands of people, to see them.

So in a way, I suppose this is a thank you letter to the wonderful cosplayers at DragonCon.  Thank you for your craft, thank you for your patience, and thank you for making my daughter’s favorite characters come to life for her.

Have fun, everyone, at DragonCon 2018!  

DSCN0508
This guy was so patient.  He has a Facebook page where you can see more of his work.  He’s fantastic!  https://www.facebook.com/Lonstermash/

If you’re interested in anything cosplay, I recommend The Geek Forge.

Related posts and blogs:

How the Power of Cosplay can Bring a Family Together

Sew Style Hero: All Might; My Hero Academia Cosplay

Scarlett Witch Cosplay: Avengers Infinity War

SURVIVING DRAGONCON : 2018 EDITION

From DragonCon to MommyCon

Empty Bobbins: Mr. S’s Love

Empty bobbins are moments in life where we pause and reflect.  It’s like when your bobbin runs out in the middle of a project, and you have to pause everything you’re doing to reload.  Here’s one such reflective moment.

Mr. S’s Love

Years ago, my kids and I were walking around the curve in our previous neighborhood, which is mostly retired people, when I waved to two older gentlemen talking in a front yard.  Their conversation ended as we passed, and one man, now referred to as Mr. S, walked over to say hello to us.  We all said hello, and I pointed to our house.  He said he remembered when we moved in that we didn’t have kids.  I made a comment about no adult supervision, and then he asked if the kids liked candy.

Was it mean that I immediately thought he was going to offer us a Werther’s Original hard candy? 

I mentioned we had enough Easter candy, but he seemed eager, so I finally capitulated and accepted his offer of some mints and chocolate covered raisins.  And I do love some chocolate covered raisins.  He invited us up to the house.

I’d noticed his house before.  It was newer and looked very nice and quaint from the outside.  It was certainly in a different league from my 1978 doodoo brown ranch house.  He opened a side door into the kitchen, and we walked in.  (I’ll add I wasn’t too worried about safety as Mr. S lived alone and was 86 years old.  Pretty sure I could take him if need be.)  Here’s where the moment became more than just candy and mints.

You see, Mr. S was a widower, a fact he shared with me as we entered the house.  He said his wife had passed away about six years ago, and they had been married for 56 years.  He said, “When you’ve been married for that long, you kinda get used to one another.”  I know our younger family reminds our older neighbors of that period in their lives sometimes, so I smiled and figured that seeing me with my 3 year old and 1 year old reminded him of his own family.  But later he informed me they had no children.

And then, he proceeded to show off the house.  He said his wife had had it built, and that she had passed not long after it was finished.  He commented, “She built me a house and then left me” more than once.  He mentioned her constantly, too.  At times, it even sounded like he was fussing at her for leaving him, but in a good-natured way.

I’ll admit it – the house was perfect.  It was just what I would have designed for myself: wainscoting, high ceilings, large kitchen, sun porch, butler’s pantry – elegant but not pretentious.  He showed us all around the bottom floor, and I couldn’t quite figure out why.  I mean, yes, the house was gorgeous, but we’d come over for candy and mints.  I hadn’t commented on the house much at all.  Certainly not enough to warrant a tour.

As we walked, I saw pictures of his wife were everywhere.  There were pictures of her when she was younger at the early part of their marriage all the way to gray haired dame.  And yet, she still didn’t look “old” at the most recent picture I saw.  The house looked very sophisticated and decorated, and I figured it hadn’t changed much since she’d gotten it set the way she wanted.  And then it hit me as to why we were getting a tour.

Mr. S was proud of his wife.  He was bragging on her, even six years after she’d died he was still beaming with pride.  Every detail of the house was attributed her good taste and ability.  I’d never met Mrs. S, but her presence was everywhere in that home.  If I had walked in without Mr. S there to narrate, I’d have assumed she was still very much alive.  The house just felt…complete.  It didn’t feel like an 86 year old widower lived there.  That house was just as much Mrs. S’s today as it was 6 years ago when it was finished in time for her to pass on.

I suppose it’s a good thing that Mr. and Mrs. S had gotten used to each other after all that time because it’s clear she isn’t leaving him any time soon.

Of course, this was several years ago.  I have since learned of Mr. S’s own passing.  And while it was sad to know that such a kindly old man wouldn’t be waving at us from his yard anymore or offering mints and chocolate covered raisins, I couldn’t help but smile a little because I knew he was finally back with Mrs. S.