You know you’ve made it as a parent when your son takes you to see Guns N’ Roses for Mother’s Day.
At least this is what I heard from envious co-workers as I logged off my computer, locked my red Swingline stapler in my top right drawer, and left the office at 2pm on a Friday to head Northwest to Dodger’s Stadium in Los Angeles.
Instead of rock concerts, I scored tickets to Sesame Street Live and Disney on Ice for 25 years.
My love for live rock and roll began on July 12, 1978 when I drove myself and a friend to the Long Beach Arena to see Aerosmith and AC/DC. It was a warm summer evening and in my 1976 orange Ford Pinto, we looked like a giant tangerine rolling through the streets of Southern California.
An eight-track player bolted under the dashboard blasted “Walk This Way,” “Back in the Saddle,” “Sweet Emotion,” and other top Aerosmith tunes. We wore tube tops and had dimes in the pockets of our Jordache jeans in the event we needed to make a phone call.
We were in heavy concert mode from there. Boston was the next Rock and Roll Band to sway us. Queen rocked us. We danced the night away with Van Halen, and The B-52s took us to Planet Claire. Journey reminded us to believe. Foreigner took us a long way from home. Cheap Trick, Kansas, Boston……the list kept growing.
Until I became a mother.
The Day the Music Died
Suddenly I was frazzled, juggling full-time employment with the many hats I wore at home: human resources professional, nurse, nutritionist, accountant, referee, counselor, dietitian, and inventory keeper extraordinaire. When I was alone, the last thing I wanted was sound. Music went into the abyss and stayed there. For 25 years.
This means that as I raised my four children, I was barely familiar with the rock and roll of Guns N Roses, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, and other popular bands from the late 80s and early 90s. Instead of rock concerts, I scored tickets to Sesame Street Live and Disney on Ice. The cassettes and CDs in my mini-van and SUV were toddler tunes, Lamb Chop, or Charlotte Diamond. Those discs later graduated to teen pop icons NSYNC and Backstreet Boys.
I had a re-awakening in 2012 when I saw a scene in the movie Step Brothers. A family of four sang Guns N’ Rose’s hit “Sweet Child O’ Mine” a cappella and left me in stitches.
This steered me to the GNR version, which lead me to the jungle and paradise city. I discovered new songs such as Yesterdays and Civil War and was hooked. I purchased the band’s greatest hits CD and played it until it would play no more.
The Gift of Rock
Fast forward to 2016. I heard an announcement on the radio about Guns N’ Roses reuniting for a Once in Your Lifetime tour. I did not hide my excitement, but commented that I could not justify the expense for myself. Two of the four kids had not yet left the nest, and money was best spent elsewhere.
Tickets went on sale in May, and Mother’s Day is in May…
I felt light and loose in a way I hadn’t since my pre-kids days.
When I opened the gift from my son, Ian, I stared at the pair of tickets in disbelief, reading the description over and over again. Guns N’ Roses. August 22, 2016. 6:30pm. These tickets were not old keepsakes, I realized. The date was in the future.
This was for real. The two documents I held in my hands meant that I was going to a concert again! As tears started to swell in my eyes, my son said that he would like to be the one to take me. You know what I said.
On the day of the concert, gas, dinner, and t-shirts were on me. We listened to GNR on the way and ate Dodger dogs and frozen chocolate malts at the concert. He drank a beer, and I had a glass of red wine. Very different than the Disney concert days. We danced and cheered; I sang at the top of my lungs; he might have too but he didn’t know the words to many songs. I felt light and loose in a way I hadn’t since my pre-kids days.
The tickets were beyond the budget of a full-time college student working part-time, but it is not only the monetary value of the gift that impressed me. It was his kindness and eagerness to make the evening one of the best in this lifetime. Thank you, Sweet Child O’ Mine.