One October Saturday, tired from chasing twins and heavy with the weight of a new baby on the way, I found myself in the car with my husband, just the two of us, escaping for a day of freedom. I’m pretty sure we squealed the tires like giddy teenagers as we sped out of the driveway.
Were we headed to a spa for a restorative couple’s massage? Maybe a long, lazy brunch with lattes and croissants?
Nope and nope.
We wound around mountains and through woods, past signs warning of moose in the road on our way to a concert that was to be held on the deck…
of a bowling alley.
That’s how we roll in Maine. We drive 45 minutes farther away from civilization to things like bowling alleys for our entertainment. Outdoor entertainment, no less, on the kind of chilly gray day where the sun is just a rumor. While seven months pregnant.
It was the best concert I’ve ever been to.
We got out of the car and there were about four people there. Were we early? At the wrong place? I mean, this wasn’t supposed to be a big fancy deal or anything, (“Are you wearing slippers?” my husband asked when I got into the car. “Maybe. Mind your own business.”) but I also thought there’d be more people here. The Mallett Brothers Band was playing, and although they’re a local band, they’re good. Really good. Too good to be playing on the decks of bowling alleys, quite frankly. I’m not a big country music fan, but these guys are kind of rock/country and I was just excited to get out of my house and do something. I probably would have gone to a full-on Reba-Kenny-Shelton-Paisley-Everyone’s-Wearing-Cowboy-Boots festival if it had been available, just to be out on a date with my husband.
So, not wanting to awkwardly mingle with a handful of folks, we drove around a bit. We discovered a fantastic little store where Hubs found delicious beer and I found free samples of hot apple cider. Free samples + seven months pregnant = heaven. I had like eight samples. We squeezed ourselves (okay, I squeezed; Hubs probably fit comfortably like a normal person) through the aisles of a tiny but well-stocked bookstore, and held hands as we walked down the street, just like two kids in love, killing time.
Then we went back to the bowling alley for the concert. Phew. Now there were at least nineteen people there, so it didn’t feel awkward anymore. We ate hot dogs and I tried not to dance like a hippo when the music started. It’s hard not to dance when you’re at a concert, but pregnant dancing is just so goofy.
Sorry. Take a minute to catch your breath after you’re done laughing at the goodness that is Amy Poehler. One of my favorite people in the world (you know who you are) showed me this SNL clip. It’s her fault if you’re snort-laughing right now.
I leaned against my husband as we sat at a picnic table. I was finally relaxed. I could breathe and think and feel without little hands and voices tugging at me. I felt warm and light and then I had to try really hard not to cry.
It suddenly hit me that the singer sounded so much like my late father-in-law, and looked a little bit like him too, like when he was younger and also sang in a band, with his long hair and wiry build. Sadness and longing and peace all kind of came over me at once.
I was sad because I missed him, and sad for my husband that he had lost his dad, and sad for my children that they’d never know the grandpa who called them “jelly beans” when they were tiny babies.
The longing is hard to explain, but when I heard these guys singing, it made me wish that I could have heard my husband’s father playing with his brothers in his band, back when my husband was just a toddler. From the recordings I’ve heard, they were really good. They probably could have even been really successful if they’d had more money, more connections, all that stuff that goes along with making it in the music business. They had the talent, that’s for sure.
But once I had worked through those feelings, I felt so peaceful, leaning against my husband on a picnic bench on that cool fall day. I felt connected to everything. To the music, to my father-in-law, to my own father who loves music so much and is himself an amazing musician, to my husband, to my sweet girls at home, and to my brand new, yet-to-be-born baby girl, tapping her tiny feet inside of me, full of music and warm cider.
And there I was in the center of them all – how lucky was I?
That day, I went to a concert looking to escape from my life for a little bit, and instead I just dove deeper into it. It’s a day I go back to in my mind often because it was perfect and simple, like our own little once upon a time.
And just twelve days later, six weeks before she was even due to make an appearance, my baby was born.
She was early and unexpected, and she threw our lives into chaos for a little while, but now she brings us so much light and laughter. And you know what? She’s got music in her soul. I think she’s going to be a singer, like her grandpas, and someday I’ll tell her the story of this perfect day, and then it can be her once upon a time too.
The title of this post comes from a line in the song “Watch You Walk Away” by The Mallett Brothers Band. It’s a sad song that doesn’t really have anything to do with this day; I just love it because it’s so beautiful. And the line made a handy title:
This post was written in response to the prompt, “I went to a concert…” as part of the Finish the Sentence Friday link-up hosted by some fabulous bloggers:
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