"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Mommin' it up at Widespread Panic

I'm not what you would call "fun."

I mean, I can be funny. I can have fun. But when people think of me, "fun" isn't usually the word they think of. It's more like "punctual" or "always prepared" or "that one who likes to curl up on her couch with Netflix and then go to bed early."

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I'm the person you call if you've forgotten what time the Kindergarten Musical starts. If we're meeting for coffee, I'll be on time because I'll actually be early. Do you need baked goods for a PTO function? I'm on it. I'd love to join you for a Mom's Night Out...can we be home by 10? If your kid falls and scrapes his knee while on a class field trip, I've got the band-aid. And yes, I'm the chaperone.

I'm just not your Wild and Spontaneous, Up-for-Anything, Party Girl.

Well, not usually.


My friend, Ahna, texted me last week.

"Do you like Widespread Panic?"

I cringed and wrote back: "Don't hate me...what do they sing?"

She sent a smiley emoji, then my phone rang.

"I've got two tickets to the Widespread Panic show tonight," she said. "Wanna go?"

I looked at the sprawl of destruction in front of me. Homework to be completed, dinner to be cooked, an entire house full of toys to be put away. It was 4:45.

"What time would we be leaving?"

"I don't know...around 6?"

I couldn't just not help the kids with their homework. I couldn't just not cook dinner. I couldn't just walk out the door and leave my house looking like a complete wreck.

Thunder rolled and a bolt of lightning lit up the room.

Plus, it was raining. I couldn't just go to a concert in the rain. And I was already in my pajamas.

"Um...well..." I started.

Ahna finished my thought. "No pressure," she said, "I'm not a huge fan or anything. I have the tickets, though, so I thought I'd ask."

I looked out the window as the rain started to pick up. The kids were calling me from the basement to come look at their fort. I had no idea what I was going to make for dinner.

"Ahna," I said, full of a feeling I don't normally feel...I think it was courage. "We should go. Fun people say Yes. We should say Yes. We can be fun!"

"Well, they are box seats..."

"I have no idea what that even means. I think we should do it."

"We totally should."

"Okay, we're doing it."

"I'll pick you up at 6:15."

"Ok. Yes. You will. We're really doing this."

"Yup! It'll be great. See you in a bit."

I hung up the phone, took a deep breath, and, like such a mom, I googled "Widespread Panic."

I called Sam, shocked the hell out of him with my plans for the evening, ran down to the basement to see the kids' fort, then went upstairs to put some actual clothes on. I decided on skinny jeans...you know, so I could wear my rain boots.

Maybe it's not super cool to wear rain boots to see Widespread Panic, but the venue was an outdoor pavilion and we'd have to walk a few blocks from parking to get there. It was going to be wet and I was going to be grumpy if my feet got soaked. Plus, I was wearing my L.L. Bean rain coat so I didn't have to worry about my boots giving my Mom Status away. No way was I going to blend in with a Widespread crowd.

After entering the gates and getting our drink tickets, we followed the smell of weed to the stage. Our tickets came with these super exclusive orange wristbands, which let us in the box seating area. 

Boxes didn't seem to be prime real estate at a Widespread Panic show, though, as we were the only ones sitting in the whole section. Everyone was up at the front, passing joints and getting up close and personal with the music.

"Let's go up front!" Ahna suggested. (For the music, not the joints.) Ahna is way more fun than I am.

"Um, maybe in a bit." I said, not quite ready to dive into the crowd. So we sat drinking our beers, talking PTO. As moms do.

Our friend Shannon and her husband (who actually ARE fun and who actually WERE there for the music and not just because they had free tickets and were trying to prove a point) met up with us a bit later. By then, we'd finished our beers, and I realized that I actually DID like the music. They remind me a lot of Phish, with a little funk, a little Led Zeppelin, and a touch of southern rock thrown in. They're a jam band. They're the kind of band I listened to when I WAS fun and went to shows and... you know...did the fun stuff that fun people do at fun shows.

I was ready. "Ahna. Let's go up front."

She led the way. She's little and sweet and everyone loves her, so she had no trouble "Excuse Me"ing her way through the crowd.

We were IN the crowd. We were surrounded by hippies and college kids and everyone was dancing and happy and loving life and so were we. It was pouring rain and I was wearing a raincoat from freaking L.L. Bean and I am such a mom and I was dancing and I was having so much fun. 

People at Widespread Panic shows are Good People. They were kind and courteous...one guy turned around and saw little, sweet Ahna, who only came up to the small of his back, standing behind all 6'4 of him. "You should stand in front of me," he said, "I don't want to block your view." They are generous...not only were they sharing their joints and bowls with each other (not us), one guy even offered me his french fries. It was really very sweet. I just wasn't very hungry at that moment.

We ducked back through the crowd to get another drink and use the restroom. It was crazy: for the first time in the history of the world, there was a line, 50-men deep, for the men's room, while we just walked right in to the women's room. (Lines at one bathroom while there's another bathroom with no one waiting is another reason why gendered bathrooms are stupid.)

By the time we returned to our box with our drinks, it was intermission. We sat reveling in our fun-ness and talking about our kids...as moms do.

Then, the band came back out and so did we. This time, Ahna led us all the way to the front. Almost. We were only three people back from the stage. And it. Was. Awesome.

Lesson Learned:
If someone calls, and offers you tickets to a show, you say Yes! You'll be glad you did. And you'll be glad you have a fun friend like Ahna, who lets you pretend to be fun, too.

And wear your rain boots. Even if it's not rainy, the floors are gross. You can hose those babies off tomorrow.

Actually, you can hose them off the day after because, if you're really going to Mom it up at Widespread, you'll be chaperoning a kindergarten field trip to a farm the next morning. 


  1. Cool gig. M got us tickets to Cambridge Folk Festival a few years back (actually, lots of years back because we didn't have children then. Where did the time go), and it was brilliant. We've got a bit boring since then.

    Your day at the farm reminds me of the day when we got a phone call from school informing us that D's face had turned into a balloon on his trip to the farm. He was fine after we'd poured antihistamine into him, but he did look a bit alarming.

    Fun times.

    1. That's exactly it...we're still fun, it's just that our definition of "fun" has changed. Drastically. :)