We Had Ourselves a Once Upon a Time

posted in Family, I do occasionally leave my house, Pregnancy, The Baby, The Daddy One on by with 18 Replies

Once Upon a Time

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, 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.

You good?


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:

Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine?

Janine’s Confessions of a Mommyaholic

Mommy, For Real

Finding Ninee

Check them out!


  • I cried reading this post.
    What a wonderful memory and you told it so beautifully too!

    • ShakespearesMom

      Oh, thank you so much. This was one of those really personal posts that you’re not sure about sharing with the world, but I’m really glad I did.

  • Totally sounded like the perfect day and so glad you got to indeed enjoy the concert and the whole experience, too 🙂

    • ShakespearesMom

      It really was a perfect day. Thanks for reading!

  • Kelly Mckenzie

    Wow – they are good! At first I confess I read Mullet Brothers but not wanting to judge I thought hell give them a go. I like them. So thank you for the intro! I suspect your daughter did too and that’s why she made an early appearance!

    • ShakespearesMom

      Kelly, I laughed so hard when I read this comment! Tears. Actual laughter tears were streaming down my face when I pictured a band of mullet-ed brothers. Anyway, I’m glad you like them! I don’t know them personally or anything, but they’re connected to my perfect day and I thought their music deserved to be shared.

  • Kristi – Finding Ninee

    I love that you had such a perfect, perfect day of remembrance, escape, and your own once upon a time. And so glad that you linked up with us because I really like your writing and am looking forward to reading more of it. I especially loved your description of leaning against your husband in content, and remembering your late father in law.

    • ShakespearesMom

      Kristi, it means so much to me for you to say that about my writing. I really like your writing as well and I’m so glad that I finally got my act together to participate in this link-up! I’ve been blogging for almost a year, but it still feels new and weird sometimes to put myself out there, so thank you for the compliment!

  • Jen @ Real Life Parenting

    It’s funny how sometimes life presents itself in places we’re not expecting to find it. I had a moment like that when my daughter was in the hospital a few weeks ago. Like you, I felt overwhelmed and several times I felt my eyes fill. I truly feel like I’ve been walking around with a different energy the last few weeks because of it. Loved this post … looking forward to reading more of you 🙂

    • ShakespearesMom

      I hope everything is okay with your daughter now. Life does just sneak up on you. Thank you so much for reading.

  • OK, this one misted me up a little. Sounds like a great day, and I’m glad everything worked out fine for the littlest jelly bean, given her early appearance. 🙂 [#FTSF]

    • ShakespearesMom

      Thank you!

  • Joy @ Comfytown

    I got a little choked up. Beautiful day, and I know what you meab about your FIL. My MIL never got to meet our youngest and sometimes I can’t even think about it. Sounds like a great date!

    • ShakespearesMom

      It was such a great date. It really is heartbreaking that people who were so important in our lives don’t get to watch our kids grow up.

  • What beautiful memories of a beautiful day!

  • Love this post. I have seen the Amy Poehler clip before, and it is SO hilarious. What a nice memory to have from that very specific point in your life.

  • I am loving this song. Very Avett Brothers. *swoon* <- the swoon was for the writing, though. Lovely.

    • ShakespearesMom

      I’m so glad you love the song! And thank you for your lovely compliment.