When my daughter was little, one of my favorite things to do was to watch her. Just…observe.
Kids are fascinating creatures. They try and fail so many times, yet they remain persistent until they can grasp that toy, or walk without falling, or get that food on a spoon without assistance.
As a parent, our assistance is required less and less from a “hands on” perspective with each passing year, until we are almost solely in an observing role. A safety net of sorts.
Last week, I took my daughter and cousin to their first “real” concert. Panic! At The Disco was performing in Nashville for 20,000 screaming fans at Bridgestone Arena. And my daughter was in the crowd. 11th row from the stage.
Reagan worked several weeks over the summer and surprised her cousin bff with floor seats. She’s kept the secret since August. Finally, the night before the concert, she couldn’t take it any more and told her where they were sitting. Emma’s eyes got wide with disbelief and she just wrapped my daughter in a big hug and thanked her. It was a sweet, special moment to witness. I honestly can’t express how thankful I am that these two girls have each other. They are the truest kind of kindred spirits, and I can’t imagine how different our lives would be without Emma being such a fixture in them.
I accompanied the teenagers to the venue, then found my seat in the nosebleeds to sit back and take it in. The concert, of course, but also, the opportunity to witness my daughter experience something she’s been dreaming about for quite some time.
From my vantage point, I had a good view of the girls. Their elatedness was palpable. I didn’t attend a real rock concert until I was married, but I remember how exciting it was to absorb that energy for the first time. To quite literally feel the music. It’s an incredible experience.
As I watched my daughter, and then caught up with her after the concert, there was nothing but pure joy on her face. An excitement behind her eyes that I don’t glimpse as often as I did as when she was little.
On this trip to Nashville, I also brought my mom. She declined on the offer of attending the concert (traitor) but she was my shotgun rider and roomie for the duration of the adventure.
Since my dad retired and my grandmother moved in with my parents, I don’t see or talk to my mom as much as I used to. She stays busy. I’m busier now too, with a job that demands a lot of my attention, even when I’m home. Having the opportunity to just embrace some time with my mama was precious to me.
We stayed up late. Talked more than we probably have in months. Reconnected. And laughed. I love to watch my mother laugh. In my job, sometimes I have to throw out an occasional phony chuckle in the course of small talk, but I have never seen my mother fake a laugh.
I know, from observation, what a stressful situation my mom lives as a caretaker. The relief from that role, if only for a few days, melted off of her as soon as we crossed the state line. I feel like I got to witness some joy in her, just like I did with my daughter.
And just being there, watching these 3 women, all excited over different things and expressed in different ways, it made me joyful.
Joyful that I was there.
Joyful that I know them.
Joyful in my love for each one of them.