This a late-night weekend and I'm feeling it right now. It's gonna be a struggle to stay awake today.

Friday night, they had this “thing” at our church for kids of Erin's age. They stayed out all night whooping it up all over town but mostly at the Incredible Pizza Company. Erin came staggering home at 6:00am (in other words, Mel and to get up at 5:30 am to go get her) and fell immediately asleep and slept until approximately 3:00 pm. She laid around the rest of the day without ever changing from her bathrobe. In other words her day was shot.

Evan had decided at the last minute to go to the formal dance and so Mel and I changed our plans. We decided that since she had to get up and go get Erin, that we'd just head back out and have our Valentines day on Saturday. To this end, we started shopping at about 8:30. It is well known that I am at the bottom of the sartorial splendor spectrum and my wardrobe had reached the point of despair. I was looking like a homeless guy so I finally agreed it was time to go shopping. We shopped for guy stuff and then went to the movies at 10:00 am. We say “Hitch” which I recommend to anyone for a quick laugh.

Then we had lunch at a new restaurant that I had heard about and went shopping some more. That took us up to about 4:00 pm at which point I staggered home with a bunch of new clothes. As I hung up each new item, I threw an old item in the trash. From this way of wearing clothes it would seem to make sense for me to buy expensive stuff since I pretty much wear it out but I didn't; I just went with the usual. Rather than shop at the Expensive Preppie Store, I shopped at the SubUrban Reasonable Price store and it worked out OK.

Then it was time to get Evan rigged up in his rented monkey suit which he found quite amusing. Totally generic pants are a great invention but require some time and intelligence to master the adjustments of. Ditto the bow tie. But in the end, he looked extremely handsome which most skinny people do in a tux. Thank goodness the boy has no weight problems – I guess we did something right after all. Off he went with one of his buddies. Melissa had smelled something on the wind, so to speak, and so when she got a call from a friend to help chaperone, she jumped at the chance. And, sure enough, it seems there was a special someone that he spent more time than usual talking to.

All this was of course after he had decided to go with some friends out to dinner. So it appeared to me that he showed up with one girl (just a friend) and spent time with another but apparently, nobody thought ill of that. Times have changed. Or perhaps they just don't know the rules yet. Could be either one.

Anyway, they didn't get home until after midnight and he apparently had a really good time. Some sneaky digital photos made it to my inbox Sunday that reveal the identity of the mystery girl. No point in going into details of that here though. Privacy-wise, I'm skating on thin ice as it is.

So, that was two late nights. Like idiots we decided to get up and go to early church so as to give Evan time to get back home and do his homework so we could get to our next late-night thing which is the entire point of this message and that is: the rock concert.

This was at the venerable (and famous) Cain's Ballroom. The Cain's has hosted some really big-name entertainment in it's long history (usually right before they became famous) but it's really small – more of a saloon/dancehall really (hence the name) and so it can be tricky to get tickets but we had ours early. It's history boasts such bands as The Sex Pistols, Van Halen, The Police, Talking Heads, and of course going back many years, Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, Hank Williams, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, etc.

RelientK is a goofy band that Evan and his buddies like. I like them too because their music sounds kind of like GreenDay with satirical lyrics but with no bad language. There were lots of folks from various churches that I recognized. I sat on the bleachers near the back with lots of other parents but I did have the good taste not to openly mock the mood of the evening by working crossword puzzles like the Mom next to me. You just want to say “Geez lady, at least pretend to be interested in what your kids are doing”.

We got there early and stood in line with one billion other 14-16 year olds. Right away cellphones started going off and quickly everyone figured out where everyone else they knew was. Then they started arranged line-cutting so they could all travel in a pack. This turns out to have been unnecessary since, by the time they had all this worked out, the doors were open. It seems that one particular young lady was trying to get something going with one of Evan's buddies who travelled with us. This added a bit of mystery to the evening but that spark never really started any fires. Lucky for me since I was the only adult in the bunch of them and would not have appreciated having to turn into a parent in front of all his friends.

Evan has been to concerts before but not at a “real” place like the Cain's and was really excited, as were they all. There were actually four bands there so we got our money's worth. The fact that I had earplugs seems to have left the wrong impression; most parents thought I just didn't like the music. The fact is that loud music hurts my ears and this way, I enjoyed it more. I'm sure I enjoyed it way more than any of them did.

Then there was the crowd-surfing.

Evan quickly made his way to the front where the viewing was best. I assume he was with his pack but I lost track of him when the place filled up. I saw many kids get lifted up and passed along the audience and once even saw Evan himself surfing the crowd which amazed me. I had to rub my eyes to make sure it was him since that is quite out of character for him. He later claims that it was against his wishes but who really knows for sure? Still, he and his whole posse came out of the concert as hyperactive and chatty as I had ever seen any of them. They were pumped up to a frenzy of energy and so it was a good investment of time in spite of the fact that we didn't get home until midnight and now I feel like death warmed over.

I ran into a large number of people I know (some of whom looked enviously at my earplugs). It was like a reunion of sorts. Thank goodness for cellphones – I think everybody in the place was talking to everybody else on the phones in order to figure out where each other was and get back together after crowd-surfing to another location. For some reason, it got to be like that scene in TheBluesBrothers movie when the crowd was tossing beer bottles at the band except last night, they were throwing water bottles up on stage. Nobody seemed to care. In one case, the lead singer/guitarist caught a shirt thrown at him and tossed it aside without missing a beat on his guitar. Security guards would pick up wayward bottles and squirt the water back into the crowd. Needless to say, when the boys left, they were sopping wet with bottled water and sweat. Yuck.

Not surprisingly, on the way home the cellphones began to erupt again and plans were hastily arranged to meet up somewhere for something to eat. And so the evening ended with a sizable group of 9th graders whooping it up alone in a McDonald's with two tired-looking parents (Me and one other), and a couple of employees that looked like they're rather be anywhere on earth than behind the counter at the McDonald's. I really think that they guy that served me would just as soon have been in a Turkish prison than where he was – at least to judge from the look on his face.

As I write this, I find myself getting all emotional. Lately I've been spending a great deal of my spare time working on my old home videos and have, in the past few days, seen photos and videos of Evan as a newborn, no bigger than a loaf of bread and then in the same day, seeing him as a teenager crowd surfing at a rock concert. This paints such a vivid picture in my mind of the passage of time that it's nearly overwhelming. We fretted over every little thing when he was born and now, 14 years, later, we're still fretting – just about different things. I'm not even mentioning the photos of Erin as an infant compared with the middle-schooler curling her hair and practicing with makeup. Then I go look in the mirror, see those grey hairs and that pudgy middle and just say: “Damn”.

So it was an exciting, fun weekend for some and a sleep-deprived full-speed endurance test for others. That's parenthood for you. You may as well go along and enjoy the music.

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