This Christmas I did something to insure I would not have to buy my mother another gift, card, flowers or anything for the next 12 months. I could probably dye my hair hot pink and she would still have to forgive me. The gift I got her at Christmas was that great (not to brag or anything).
When I was 12 my mother was going to a concert with three friends, one of whom bailed the day of the concert. Although money was extremely tight in our lives, my mom incurred the expense of a babysitter and allowed me to go with her and her friends. It was the first time I saw my mom as an adult, not a mom. One who had conversations and laughter a part from our family. It was eye-opening and something I have never forgotten.
That moment when you see your parent as a person and not an entity.
This year that performer, Barry Manilow, is doing his last tour. His second to last stop was in Boston. My dad and I conspired on the tickets back in November. I would buy the tickets, he would buy the air fare. We agreed neither of us would have to buy her another gift or card for at least the next 12 months. Then his sister called my mom and said “I got tickets”! I almost had a stroke. This has been in the works for weeks, how dare she mess with us! Disaster was averted and the surprise remained intact.
On Christmas morning as we opened gifts I saw my mom getting a little upset. Everyone was opening gifts but her. Then the big reveal came and she squealed like she was a 19 year-old at a Beatles concert:
Fast forward to July 16, 2015. My dad wasn’t feeling well so he wasn’t able to take her to the concert. Just as Barry was at my first concert, I would now be at his last concert. As I drove her and her SIL into the city for dinner, they excitedly listened to his CD. At dinner every time a song of his came on they started signing and chair dancing.
We left the restaurant and my mom not only got a t-shirt, in she put it on crossing Causeway St. (Over her outfit, she isn’t that liberal).
Go figure, our tickets were located where the Bruin’s penalty box is typically placed. They must have known that mom can get rowdy. Waiting for the concert to begin, she heckled the opening act for taking to long. “GIVE ME BARRY” was heard coming from her lips.
came swaggered onto the stage. It was her BARRY. My eardrums split from her squeal of joy. She began dancing and signing along. (I confess to dancing right alongside her) As the finale began confetti was shot out over the crowd, my mom could be seen grabbing all the ribbons she could drape over herself.
As I took this picture I thought about my very first concert 30+ years ago. How that was the first time I had seen my mom as a woman. This concert I saw something even more beautiful. I saw what my mom must have been like as a teen. One full of life, laughter and an obsession for men who can still sing like it is 1980-something. Heck, she shook it like it was 1980-something.
My Facebook status during the concert:
“Watching Barry Manilow is not half as much fun as watching my mom enjoy Barry Manilow”
Thank you, Barry, for giving us these two wonderful moments together. I hope you enjoy your retirement. However should you decide you miss the road, know that mom and I will be the first in line to buy tickets.
It might be the only gift I ever have to buy again.