We waited in line a long time to get into the show. There was no whining, or complaining- not even from me. We watched the crowds of people. We could hear music inside and we waited excitedly. We finally get to our seats, which ended up being almost behind the stage, right next to the giant towers of speakers. The first band begins to play. It was loud. Crazy loud (This probably means I'm old). I look over at my son, who is now curled up in his seat, eyes wide, head in his hands. I make eye contact with him and he unravels into tears.
It was just too much. Too loud. Too many lights. A really nice lady behind us had extra ear plugs. He tried them out for a few songs, but I could tell he was still really uneasy. I asked him if he wanted to go and he brightened up, as if I had offered him an anecdote to some terrible poison. He said, “We can do that? We can just go?”
Yes, dear son, we can go. Your mother will not force you to sit through a concert where you are overstimulated and probably a little scared. We will escape to a quieter place, where we can keep talking about NFL teams, friends at school, and the next books we want to read together. I thought it was going to be so amazing to take my son to this cool event. He would hear some of his favorite songs, we would dance and be silly. It would be a special thing for just him and me. For just a second, I almost believed that special thing didn’t happen. I was tempted to think the night had been ruined.
Not at all! We got some serious quality time. We sang songs in the car as we drove downtown. We ate ridiculously good tacos and chatted about all things 6-year-old. He helped me find the right street signs so we knew where to park. We walked through the streets of downtown spinning each other like we were dancing. We shared blue cotton candy as we exited the arena. We marveled at the nighttime downtown lights.
It wasn’t exactly what I expected-- but it turned out to be a pretty good date. If the goal is to dazzle my son with cool things to do, maybe that didn’t work out. I don’t think that was ever my goal. My goal was to create memories, to invest in knowing him better, and letting him know that he matters to me. Mission accomplished.
I’m thankful today. Really, really thankful for these intentional times. I’ve felt the pressure to “cherish every moment” with my kids. That is a beautiful sentiment, but I just don’t have the stamina for it. Instead of feeling guilty for not loving the 3-year-old grocery store tantrums, or the potty training that will never end-- I’m going to be grateful for the moments that shine. I will keep collecting these little gems and be on the lookout for more.