Remembering stuff from the past is fun, no doubt. The creation of memories, however, is what rocks. And speaking of ROCK.....Big Sarge and I took our little cherubs to see their favorite rock band this weekend. Lemme tell ya, seeing your babies that passionate about music and rocking out to their favorite tunage in an auditorium full of fellow rockers can only be described as amazing.
Last year, I dragged my kids off to a They Might Be Giants concert. For me, it was awesome. They are one of the many bands who made up the soundtrack of my life as far back as 7th grade. It's one of those bands that people either love or hate, but when you love them, you get it. I'm not quite sure if my kids got it or not, but they tolerated it for my sake. And I loved sharing it with them.
So, when I found out Three Days Grace was playing only about an hour away, I just couldn't pass it up. We got a hotel room so we wouldn't have to drive home too late. Plus, everyone knows that staying in a cool hotel is an adventure anyway.
We headed up there waaaay early....you know, just for the hell of it. We went and hung out at the Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh, where I promptly had a panic attack. Me and crowded, enclosed places don't go together. One of the many reasons I either go grocery shopping in the middle of a weekday or at midnight. Chris desperately tried to make it better and I desperately tried to hide it. We went to the Godiva chocolate store and got one of every truffle in the display case. I ran into a restaurant and threw back a couple of stiff drinks real quick. We tried to go into the Crocs store, but it reeked of fresh rubber. Chris was afraid I'd get arrested by the mall cops for being a terrorist because I was shifty-eyed, sweating, and constantly checking my pockets.
My shoes rubbed blisters on my feet.
We went back to the hotel and took a nap.
We went to the concert and Chris and I marveled at our kids' little fascinated faces.
We went back to the hotel at midnight, went to the bar, ordered a snack (and another stiff drink) and talked for an hour about how FREAKIN' COOL it was. Thank you, nice bar lady, for staying open for us to hoot and holler and giggle.
Now, I don't give a shit about Three Days Grace. I don't know anything about the opening bands, because I've never heard of Adelita's Way or Chevelle. But seeing my kids jumping and fist-pumping and flashing their little horn fingers almost brought a tear to my eye. Some parents value education and grades. Some parents value morals and religion. Some parents value sports and competition. While I do value those things, I value PASSION as a means to achieve them. Above anything else, I want my kids to know what passion feels like, to have passion in their lives, and to know how to foster passion in other people. If they can enter into adulthood with that lesson, the world is their oyster.
(Begin pointless rant about being called "the cool mom.")
I get told a lot that I'm "the cool mom." I'm sure people mean that in the nicest way possible, but part of me wonders if in the back of their minds they aren't soothing themselves with the thought that "the cool mom" always winds up with a crackhead high school dropout...so later on down the line they can feel better about themselves by saying "See! That's what happens when you're the cool mom!" So they don't have to feel guilty about not putting forth the effort to actually get to know their kids and be involved with the things that interest them....even when those things might not involve after-school clubs, band, sports teams, or Boy Scouts.
As "the cool mom," I encourage my kid to stay up until 2:00 in the morning when he's in the middle of writing a story. I was a writer, too. I know what it's like to put something down and then try to come back to it later.
As "the cool mom," I encourage my son to spend the whole day practicing that one song on his guitar that he's ALMOST mastered....and finish the book report tomorrow.
As "the cool mom," I'll make last-minute rush trips to Books-A-Million when he's decided he can't possibly wait another minute to read (insert book here) by (insert author here).
As "the cool mom," I have had looooooong, seemingly neverending conversations with them on how to talk to girls. I feel privileged that they even ask me.
As "the cool mom," I taught my oldest son how to shave his moustache...using my own upper lip...because his daddy was deployed.
As "the cool mom," I gave them both their own debit/Mastercards when they were 10 years old so they could learn how to manage money in the real world and not just from a math book.
As "the cool mom," I've taught them that even parents are fallible and ultimately responsible for earning their child's respect-not demanding it- just as children are responsible for earning their parents' respect. They don't have to love me. They don't have to respect me. They do have to follow my rules until they're adults. If they love and respect me anyway, that's just a bonus.
As "the cool mom," I have found a way to give them a voice and show them their opinions are valued, while maintaining my position as lawmaker.
Being "the cool mom" isn't always about letting your kid grow his hair long or getting his ear pierced, allowing him to paint his fingernails or listen to a certain kind of music. Being "the cool mom" means remembering what it was like to be 14 and 15 and 16, talking to them on their level, giving them the freedom to be themselves, while at the same time teaching them the real consequences of their negative actions (not just "because I say so"), emphasizing all the wonderful benefits of their positive actions (not just "oh that was wonderful!"), and all while literally handing them the reigns to the real world they're about to inherit- not just lecturing them about it.
If being "the cool mom" means parenting with your heart and traveling this life alongside your kids rather than with your foot on their necks, then I'll be the cool mom. If being "the cool mom" means not giving a shit what your kids do, shushing them away with the flick of your hand to get them out of your hair as soon as possible, then you're sorely mistaken.
(End pointless rant about being called "the cool mom.")
...........Annnnnnnd so ends my weekend in Raleigh with my little rock stars and my cathartic, verbose rant on my parenting style. I feel honored to be their mother and to have had the opportunity to create these memories with them. I just really, really hope they don't remember the panic-attack-at-the-mall part.