As I sit at Chicago Midway airport on this snowy Monday morning waiting for my flight home from Midwest FurFest (MFF) 2018, I thought I would put some thoughts together on this past weekend. It was a whirlwind, but I had so much fun and I was so glad I went.
While I’ve only recently began exploring my place within the furry fandom, I can say my second MFF was one of the best con experiences I’ve had in a long time. I think a lot of it was that I knew what to expect this year.
As I was thinking about this past weekend, several things came to mind: all the amazing people I met, all the hard work that goes into putting on a con like this, the money raised for charity, the amazing fursuits, the record attendance, the spending time padded with other furs, all the times I laughed, and all the times I snuggled with others. All of that was great, but my favorite part of this MFF was an interaction I observed the younger generation of the furry family.
The Next Generation
It was late Saturday morning and the con was bustling. I had found a quiet-ish corner to sit down and rest my feet for a few minutes while I waited to meet up with some friends that were walking over from the hotel. Between the blur of hundreds of people walking through the busy main concourse, and having my head buried in Telegram, I almost missed an exchange that melted my heart.
There was, what I would guess, a 4 or 5 year old kiddo with his guardian in tow taking in all the sites and sounds. The kiddo was wearing a black tail and cat fursuit head. A full-grown fursuiter had started to walk by but stopped and turned back to talk to this kid. The full-sized fursuiter got down to his level and I overheard them discussing their fursuits together. At one point the kiddo removed his fursuit head and they continued to chat a bit. The awe and wonder on that kids face showed how excited he was to be there!
After a couple minutes of chit-chat, the grown suiter told him that he needed to go and meet up with some friends, but that he wanted to tell him something. He looked right at that kiddo and said,
“I’m so happy you came today. You keep being who you are and don’t let anyone tell you who you are or who you should to be. I hope I get to see you here again next year. If you see me, come give me a hug, okay?”
The little guy didn’t respond verbally, but just reached out both arms wide and they both embraced in a huge hug that is all so commonplace at cons.
The thought of those words and that hug still brings tears to my eyes even as I type this.
I don’t know who the grown fursuiter was, but they took a few minutes out of their busy con to stop and talk to that young kid. What they told that kid was really great and I wish I would have had someone tell me something like that at several points in my life.
I have no doubt that some part of that whole interaction will probably stay with that kid forever. Gestures like that will make the younger ones feel welcome. This love, generosity and genuine care is one of the many reasons the fandom family is so great. Thank you FurFest 2018!
…I’m not crying…you’re crying…
Hugs and crinkles,