I know you are expecting me to talk about some kind of emotional journey right now. But this time I mean the band Journey. Eighties sensation; soundtrack to many of the moments of my youth; authors of some of the best love songs ever...THAT Journey!
My son Johnny turned 17 on August 5th. Life has been so crazy lately (widow conference anyone??) that I realized about one week before his birthday that I didn't have one clue about what to do to celebrate the big day. For me, choosing birthday gifts, planning parties or life milestone celebrations is a very lonely process as a single mother of three. Whether I have a great idea that I am bursting to tell a partner or I am clueless and need someone to brainstorm with about ways to honor the day, I often find myself irritated with Phil for being dead when the time to make a plan for one of the kids arrives!
So the boys and I were driving along in the car about a week before Johnny's birthday when an advertisement for tickets to see Journey played on the radio. Johnny says, "Man, seeing Journey would be so cool." I laughed out loud and said that though seeing Journey would be very cool, the concert was the next day and it would take us almost three hours to get there! He reluctantly agreed, and then we each settled into our own thoughts. As I continued driving I thought about the fact that I still didn't know what to do for John's birthday. Then I imagined how awesome telling my son that we were on our way to the Journey concert would be...and finally I thought, why not? What was stopping me from driving three hours to see a concert? Did we have any plans that couldn't be changed? Tickets must still be available if the ads were still running, right? For the first time I felt liberated by the fact that I didn't have to convince anyone but myself that this was a great idea. When we got home I went straight to my computer and bought the tickets.
Telling my son that we were indeed going to see Journey was a moment I will never forget. At the concert, we sang along with the band side-by-side...at the top of our lungs...on a gorgeous summer night...in an amazing outdoor stadium. The band was fantastic (the boys said the new singer was "epic"), I got to take my boys to their first real concert, we celebrated Johnny's birthday in a way that will likely become a part of the soundtrack of his youth...and I didn't feel alone, or confused, or sad. Instead I felt very proud of myself for seizing the moment, and deeply grateful for the privilege of being a mother to such an amazing kid. Happy Birthday Sweetheart.