The Coney Island of the West“) last weekend.
The energy was high and Fun.’s songs—anthems, really—sounded fantastic. It was the perfect end-of summer-treat.
Oh, and I had my 4 kids in tow.
We all loved it. Collectively, from my little girl, age 6, to my oldest son, now 16, we knew most of the words.
Do you ever take your kids to concerts?
One thing I really like about going to concerts is that it’s still
basically the same experience it was when I was a kid. It costs more and
you buy the tickets online, but parking is still a pain. You still have
to stand there and wait between bands. Lines for the women’s restroom
are long. And even though we hold phones up now instead of lighters, it
still feels just the same to hear your favorite band live. There’s a
camaraderie among the crowd, which is usually quite diverse, that is
bonding and fun. I imagine people who run marathons feel the same way
but, hello! So much more fun to prepare for a concert than a big long
race. Am I right?
My husband and I made the hour-long drive to Saltair with the kids in the back of the van and Some Nights
blaring on the radio. I’m not going to lie to you and say we were all
blissed out with no bickering or crying on the way there. Newsflash:
There is always bickering and crying. So if you just had a baby let me assure you that it doesn’t get better. But you care less. In that
way it gets better. When we hit the parking-lot traffic backed up onto
the off-ramp I kind of felt bad for the youngsters in front of and
behind us. That’s right, hipsters. We are middle-aged and in a van and we are here too. So what does that say about you and your cool factor? Not much, my friends. Not much. (Burn.)
My husband is a great sport and always enjoys the concerts I drag him
too, but he’s an earplug guy. Me, I’m a
slowly-losing-a-small-percentage-of-my-hearing-at-each-concert guy. To
me the next day’s ear-ringing is worth it, not unlike the delicious
taste of a curry that lingers. Like Beethoven, I know I will one day be
deaf to the very music I love. I press on willingly towards my fate
because I’m totally banking on a cochlear ear plant.
Can I get a what what!
My husband just started a Sweeto Burrito food truck. It
took a lot for him to pull himself away from the truck for the concert.
He kept checking the sales online on his phone. He’s obsessed with it,
and it’s a pretty fun venture. But once we hit the crowds at Saltair the
cell tower must have been jammed or overloaded or whatever happens when
too many people with cell phones are posting concert selfies to Instagram.
He couldn’t check his numbers. As a result, he laid down on the grass
after the opening band and took a much-needed nap. See? Concerts just
can’t be beat.
know how dads are considered major heroes whenever they take their kids
out on errands? My husband gets the warmest looks and nicest comments
on Saturdays at Lowes whenever he has the kids with him. I’m just a
haggard mom when I go places with them.
But it’s different at a concert because there is an abundance of good
will. It was an all-ages venue and there were several kids there, but
everyone thought it was so great that I had my kids at a Fun. concert.
People were effulgent and let me cut in line for the bathroom. Drunk
people were careful not to bump or step on my kids. I reveled in the
positive attention. Finally. I’m getting a little respect for being a
mom! Only at a concert, I tell you.
I sing at the top of my lungs a concerts. Just so you know. My kids
know this. They are embarrassed by me but I pay my 40 bucks to be there
just like everyone else so I’m going to enjoy myself, is how I see it.
I’m pretty self-conscious in real-life. I don’t know if it’s good or bad
for my kids to see me pump my fist and play air symbols—yes, it’s a
thing . . . actually, no. It’s not a thing—but, why not let them see me
as more than their driving, check-writing, chore-nagging,
Concerts almost always have smoking, drinking, and swearing. I don’t
condone those things. I teach my kids not to do them. I don’t do them.
I’m not judging you for what you do or don’t teach your kids, that’s
just how it is for me. I’m old-fashioned and strict. Prude, even. It’s
how I am and I feel like it’s right for my family. As a mom you teach
young children absolutes. The fact that the world has gray areas and
exceptions and hard questions with tricky answers comes up later. But
yes, 6-year-old, you must brush your teeth every night or they
will get sugar bugs on them. I don’t tell my young children that
eventually all those baby teeth just fall out so, who cares-let’s-
have-a-free-for-all because I’m teaching habits and values and all that.
You can’t let things go. Parenting is hard core. You spend a lot of
time setting standards. And enforcing them.
So how do you teach a kid tolerance? Tolerance is at least as
important as not smoking, in my opinion. But in my family’s day to day I
make it my business not to tolerate bad manners, mean comments, slacking off. If my 13- year-old started smoking? I wouldn’t tolerate that.
On our way to the concert I told my children, “We are going to hear
the f-word tonight. We are just going to ignore it. ” Yes. I’m that mom.
But maybe once a year or so it’s OK for my kids to see me standing
shoulder to shoulder and singing with all sorts and types of people,
some who smoke, drink, or swear. Maybe they don’t know, because of my
strict momness, that I can be in the world and interact happily with
other people who might not be exactly like me. Maybe they don’t
know that at the heart of things, I accept them and love them no matter
what and I always will even if they stop brushing their teeth.
I know the song We Are Young is about getting fall-down
drunk. Do I approve of getting fall-down drunk? No. True story: I’ve
never even been stand-up drunk. Do I prohibit naughty songs with swears?
You betcha. Does it bother me when my daughter belts out, “So let’s set
the world on fi-yuh. We can burn bri-duh . . . than the sun!” Not at
all. In fact I encourage it. Because it’s a dang fine tune. And even
though it mentions drugs, there’s a macro-message to the song that is genius and lovely and belt-from-the-booster-seat approved. It’s like, yeah man—We are the champions.
I can’t really explain why our Fun. concert experience was worth the
price of 6 (!) tickets, 4 t-shirts, and 6 cups of soda, but to me it
was. Ellen fell asleep on my husband’s shoulder before the encore even
started. He hauled her out to the overflow parking lot, put her in the
car, buckled her up, and pulled the van around to wait for the rest of
us to come out after the encore and beat traffic.
So if by the time the bar closes
and you feel like falling down
I’ll carry you home tonight.