Sure, taking your child to see her first music concert (or movie, or play, or museum, or so many things for that matter), is a big deal for them. But let's take a moment to appreciate what a big moment it is also is for you. Of course, the reason for the bigness is different for everyone- depends on the kid, depends on the relationship, depends on so many intangible parts of this life. This is about why it was so major for me.
P!NK is my favorite artist- most people who know me well know that this obsession runs deep. My love and appreciation of her has only grown stronger as she- and I- became moms (around the same time, and I wonder if I am the only one who feels this weird connection with a celeb when you are pregnant at the same time? Bueller? Bueller?). When I heard she would be at MSG, and my friends suggested getting tickets and taking our daughters, at first I was like YES! Then I purposely pretended to forget about it and hoped it would just fall by the wayside- because truth be told, I wasn't sure how Alexa (or I- as a result) would handle the loud, crowded atmosphere. And I was sure that my friends- and their daughters- would be totally cool with the whole experience, which made me even more anxious about it.
The other day, when one friend excitedly shared with the group that she found great tickets at a great price- and minutes later the reply-all emails saying "WE'RE IN!" starting flooding my inbox- I kind of wanted to throw up. I knew we had to go- superficially because it was something we had always talked about doing together as a group- but also, on some level, because I knew we HAD to. If I let my fear of Alexa's fears get in the way of an experience that could be as special as this, I was setting in to motion of pattern of behavior that would only get worse as time went on and the stakes got higher. Oh, the places I let my brain take me at 2am...
So, I hit send on the "CAN'T WAIT!!" email (as my sweat glands started working overtime), and spend the next few days mentally preparing myself for the worst. Granted, these girlfriends are basically like family- and they have seen the good, bad and ugly time and time again over the past 5 years. But this was gonna be a bit different. This time, I didn't have Brian there to help me calm Alexa down or distract with a funny joke. It was just moms. And daughters. All girls. We all know how girls can get. And even if they aren't like that at all- which, for the record, these girls really aren't- that fear of judgement, of being the odd one out, lingers (damn you, middle school bullies in 1994!). Plus, we were 90 minutes from home, in a concert venue I was unfamiliar with (if I had to leave in a rush, where would I even tell the UBER to meet us!? No clue.)
Yesterday, we all met at the train station, and off we went. In my backpack were 2 packages of earplugs, a fully charged iPad, headphones, 2 sets of UNO cards, and snacks. My friends of course had little crossbody bags that held simply their phones and wallets. Arriving at Grand Central, my friend Anne (who is the only one in the crew without a daughter in her brood, so she left her 3 boys at home and came solo which was awesome) announced that we should totally walk to Madison Square Garden. Inside, a piece of me died (okay, that is dramatic but you get the gist), because I could already see Alexa flipping out 4 blocks into the walk that her feet hurt/she was hot/how much farther?! I took a deep breath, grabbed Alexa's hand and off we went. Lex started to mutter a bit about being scared of the billboards and noises and while in my mind I thought- oh my, so it begins- out of my mouth I just reminded her that P!NK is a mom and wouldn't be anywhere that wasn't safe for herself or her kids, and kept pace with the group.
Yada yada yada (lots more happened but I imagine by now 95% of you have stopped reading- I get it!)... The concert started and Lex was not happy. It was loud. There were fire effects. It was crowded. Her earplugs kept falling out. My always resourceful friend Hannah offered up tampons to use as emergency earplugs- kinda genius, right? I kindly declined (because 10 years from now she would NEVER forgive me for letting her sit through a P!NK concert with tampon strings hanging out of each ear!). While my friends and their daughters danced and sang, I held Alexa on my lap, keeping on a brave(ish) face while looking for the nearest exit and feeling around for my phone so I could hit the UBER button.
Anne sprang to action and ran out to pay someone off to quickly get Lex and the other 7 year old in the crew, her friend Sylvie, a giant bag of cotton candy. Heather snuck knowing glances my way in sympathy, reminding me that she too had been there and knew how I was feeling. Jen danced and kept spirits up, changing her seat so Lex and I could cuddle up, without making a big deal of it so as to make me- or Alexa- feel even more awkward.
Eventually, Lex settled enough to look at the stage, and, while holding Sylvie's hand, stood up on her seat and together they softly sang every word to "What About Us". It was the sweetest moment, and one I will never forget.
Like all things in this mom life, we had the highest highs and the lowest lows- all within a span of 3 hours. As incredible as the concert was (and it was INCREDIBLE), the moments that will replay on loop in my brain for the rest of all time having absolutely nothing to do with who was on stage. It will have everything to do with who was sitting in the seats next to me.
Question: Have you ever felt like this when bringing your child to a "first" with friends? What is your best advice for others from that experience? Please share below in the comments!