This past week something happened I never thought would. I attended a rock show with my kids. For most parents this might be where they talked about how they don’t understand their kids’ taste in music but they sucked it up to spend some quality time with their little people. For me, it’s the exact opposite. I cringe when I read shows are “under 21.” This is my world. Something for me. I like living in my little box. I never understood why parents took their children to shows. Until I had to.
I spent weeks filling their ears with Fitz and the Tantrums while whispering subliminal messages about how much fun the concert was going to be. (This might have been my attempt to convince myself.) Each time Fitz played on the radio, I pointed to the electronic screen and stopped all conversation. “That’s who were going to see at the concert,” I said. “We get to hear this song live. See how cool they are? They’re on the radio.” Most of the time I couldn’t even crack their imagination play in the back seat.
I worried. What if they didn’t like it? What if they taxed my gig? Would I have the same amount of fun caring for two other people? Could I still enjoy myself if I had to be a responsible parent? Ugh, responsible parent. Are those words even allowed at a rock show?
This concert represented something bigger, as most things do. A year ago, there’s no way I would’ve even have thought to take them. They would’ve spent the night at my mother-in-law’s house and everyone would’ve been happy in their own worlds. They could watch cartoons and eat ice cream with Grammy and I would wedge myself front and center at the stage. It would’ve been perfect. Or so I thought.
It’s been ten months since she died and I still can hardly think about it without tears coming to my eyes. Death is one thing. The simplest fact of life. Suicide is completely different. Even writing the words for other people to read has me second guessing myself. I’ve gone back and erased it three times. This is what the past year has been like. I doubt. I worry. I wonder “what if.”
This concert was another shift in our new family relationship. At first the kids looked bored even though I paid extra to get us in the secluded front lawn. They groaned when I danced in my seat to the opening act. My son refused to move to the front before Fitz and Tantrums took the stage. My daughter wondered why I wanted to be so close. Until the music started.
Fitz was the best concert to start them on. The energy is incredible and they put on a damned good show. Seriously, one of the best I’ve ever seen. We jumped for 90 minutes. Even my son danced, according to Hubs who hung with him a few rows back. My daughter got a high five from Noelle during the show. I explained the encore process over the loud cheers. At the final chord, the band flooded my daughter with awesome gear. (Note to rock parents: the kid scored a tambourine, a set list, and a pick. She almost got the drumstick too, but a die hard fan interceded.)
The kids haven’t stopped talking about it. They replay their favorite parts and named it “one of the best days eva!” Daughter runs around the house shaking her tambourine like the musician showed her. Son talks about how I didn’t embarrass him after all. When Fitz flashes on the radio, they ask me to turn it up as loud as I will let it go. They even asked when we’re going to our next show together.
This is one of those pleasant surprises that come with being “the new us.” The benefit I sometimes forget when remembering all the good we’ve lost. Because our “normal” changed, I had one of my best concerts with the people I love the most. The kids figured out the mystery behind when Mommy goes to concerts and why it makes her so happy. And I broke through one of my mental walls and shared with my children another side of me.