Dress Code

Wearing Your Band Shirt

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If anyone sees me in the same t-shirt every time they run into me, you know, the one with the band logo on the front, don’t be concerned, I do keep up on the laundry and I can afford clothing. I promise you, it at least smells fresh every time I put it on. In all honesty, even though it looks like I am wearing the same damn shirt all the time, it’s just that I have an unlimited supply, I do have more than one of the same shirt. They just happen to be all from the same band. Conveniently, the band I am married to.

My last count was five: pink, white, and three blacks. I am literally a walking billboard. In my defense, they are so comfy, and I can get as many as I like (not really, like I said before, band wives still pay) but they are there, so I buy them, and wear them, everywhere.  As do the kids, and the husband. We might as well get our family pictures in them. Sometimes we will all walk out of our bedrooms and it’s a new episode of bitch stole my look.

The son and I matched at his junior high orientation. He loved that! He is always ready to support the band, not so much with matching his Mamma. I told him I wasn’t changing, though, I was too comfortable at that point and that would have taken too much energy. He wasn’t changing, either, because he wanted to wear it for his school picture, starting his junior high years off on the right foot. We walked into that high school slow-mo style, made sure we were known. Flying our colors high.

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The kid found his locker, I think surviving the high school will be a breeze for this little bad ass.

I was probably feeling a little cooler than he was, or cooler than he thought I was.

Sometimes I plan this look, if we are going somewhere new where I can spread the word, I don’t ever mind a shameless plug. Vacations are a great time to plan some band t-shirt wear, not only for the husband’s band but other locals I love. You’d be surprised at how many people have stopped me (or another fan) to comment on a band shirt. Then, once a person sees something they like, they usually will Google it. Spread their names far and wide, I say.

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Onward, children, we have a band to promote and mountains to do so!

Sometimes the band t shirt is because I am too lazy to put on anything nice, and like I said, these shirts are so comfy and I really like the fit. I make anything look good, so I can get away with wearing band shirts every day.

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They are great for just cleaning the house, having mental break downs, and self medicated-ice cream-life breaks.

I do have a rule to wearing my shirts to shows, though. I don’t wear the band shirt to local shows, unless it’s a competition type show. You see, a show is a night out for this girl, and this girl likes to look good occasionally. Cute top, cute jeans, cute boots. If the show is local enough where everyone already knows their name I don’t need to go full support. They got that covered.

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There is enough merch to promote themselves, they don’t need me to sport a shirt all the time, and seriously, a girl needs variety!

I will, however, wear the band shirt if the show is farther down the road. They are a little unheard of, or a competition type of show where your support is vital, where their name and logo are a force that needs to be reckoned with. That is when the shirt, the wrist bands, the whole uniform comes out. Because, we gotta represent.

Band shirts are not just a way to express yourself with the music you love, but also a way to support your favorites. Purchasing one also is helpful to the bands account (trust me, merch can be a bands life line sometimes). General rules of band shirts are: buy it because you love the band, wear it because you look good in it, and always express yourself with the music you love.

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It was a hot day on the deck with the fam (isn’t she a doll?), always express yourself, and keep cool!

 

And maybe pack a few the next time you go on a trip.

Living Fearlessly

When tragedy strikes

I got a glimpse of it on the news, when turning my laptop on and getting my hustle ready for work that morning. I only heard about it through talk throughout work that day, and I hadn’t realized the severity of it all until I got home that afternoon.  Then it hit me, watching the videos, the news reports, and the posts. The same feeling I got with the attacks of September 11th years back and columbine years before that, and so on and so forth.

Again, the world stopped and our hearts shattered, no one doesn’t feel it. The wave of odd emotion, humanistic urge to mourn for those we don’t even know. To feel fear, anger, sorrow, and confusion for a situation that isn’t anywhere near you.

I felt it all, relief, followed by guilt that we were the lucky ones who hadn’t felt worse. My family is still here, we are all safe.

And the questions flooded. How could this happen? How will these people ever go on with their lives? How do I explain this to my children? How do we step foot out our doors in the morning feeling security of the world around us?

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Time keeps moving but it seems to stop on days like these.

It is a terrifying world we live in and getting scarier by the day. Knowing that my husband gets on that stage, just like the ones at the harvest festival in Las Vegas or Arianna Grande in Manchester and many other concerts that have been targeted, is terrifying still. The only thing that can give me peace is the thought that he works on a much smaller scale, for now.

We shouldn’t have to fear a concert. A large group of people coming together for their shared love of music shouldn’t be an invitation for the insane, but a place of harmony. I shouldn’t fear for my husband, or worry if I should take my children to see him play in case someone picks that venue to take their anger and hate out on.

Music should always be a place of peace, a place in time where we can connect, let go of our frustrations, our fears, take a moment to step out of our heads and enjoy. It is devastating to think that we can no longer fully enjoy the heart and soul of what makes us all flow.

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Music should always bring us comfort, it should be home to where we can gather and enjoy. 

My heart goes out to all the families of the victims, and to the musicians, I am sure they carry their share of grief after such a horrific event. No one should fear sharing something they love, but we do, every day. Marathons, festivals, rallies, and so on. We, as humans gather to share, to comfort, to love, and to enjoy.

How do we keep going after so many hits we take as humans? Life is so fragile. Isn’t there a way we can wrap it up and put it up somewhere safe, so it doesn’t break anymore?

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There really isn’t. We can stay safely in our homes, keep hidden from all the scary pieces of the world out there, tucked away safely where no one will hurt us. But that is not life, there is no living in that.

After the many, many thoughts, prayers, tears, and hugs that day, I swore, as I have done many times before, that I will not let fear keep me from sharing what I love. As we have all done in the past, dust ourselves off and go back in.

We risk our lives every morning when we wake up and our feet touch the floor. We also prove to the world that we could survive another day when our feet hit that floor. We shout it from the rooftops every day our eyes open, we will not be afraid!

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This will not stop us from concerts, from running, from music. From love. From gathering, and sharing, spreading our love. Hold tight, my friends, the storm is not over, but we can weather it well, together.

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Battle of the Sexes

The complicated puzzle that is a relationship

What a shit storm this past week has been, the week before school starts for our fifth grader, last year for us in the elementary, sad. The sixth grader has his first year in the high school, so bittersweet.

I have been to open houses, and registration nights, and oh, dance class started also. There has been welcome back picnics, and hair appointments, and back to school shopping, which I like to wait until the day before to scrounge around in a panic to try and get everything ready. It keeps us all on our toes.

Of course, as with most big, strung out weeks, cram packed with all the crap I cannot avoid as a parent, The Husband’s was just as packed with band adventures (it’s like he plans it that way). The latest being a gargantuan of a mobile they planned on cruising around in that weekend, that had a list twice as long as mine to fix before they could get it on the road.

So, on my free nights (because I get a lot of those, right?) my only choice was to help out or be left behind and I didn’t want to spend another evening alone. Which meant, the only night or so I had available was with a paint brush and tape. Trying not to lose my damn mind with my two precious pre-teen and pre-angst angels that were trying their hardest to “help”.

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One part of my bickering angsty clan that was trying their best to drive me absolutely insane while the guys were practicing. I was putting myself in some compromising positions, there is a lot of nooks and cranny’s to a campers interior.

I was exhausted, frustrated, over worked, stressed out and wanted to blow up. I was tired of having to do it all alone, I was sick of being put second, and I wanted to send the worst shit text to The Husband, but I stopped and remembered that this was my choice.  I chose to be with a musician, and that comes with its share of carrying the load so he can travel, play, and record.

Is this fair? No, hell no, and you feel it. The pressure of knowing you’re doing it alone. It was a choice I made when we started dating, a choice consciously made when we got married, and a choice that I knew full well what I was getting into when we had children.

It was a choice we made together, and as much as I wanted to scream and yell, I knew it wouldn’t do any good, they already planned the weekend gig, they were already packing to go. It was pointless, so I took a deep breath and I texted him. I told him I loved him and missed him a lot.

And you know what? He missed me too, he was feeling it too. We live together and barley see each other during these times. It doesn’t just affect me, he is in this too, but this is his life. He could walk away, but neither of us want that for him. For us.

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Sometimes we do get to spend time together. I love watching him do his thing and that makes it all worth it.

The main thing that softened the blow and warmed my heart this past week also, was throughout the chaos of it all was that he was adamant about making sure he was there to take our son to pick out his first instrument for sixth grade band. He wanted to share that moment with him, and I understood that he can’t do all of it, but he tries his hardest to be there for the moments that most count.

In our many years of all our trials I have observed that most men want support, and most women want reassurance. And that there isn’t too much of a difference in these two marital securities. Men want to know that at the end of the day, they have someone cheering them on. When I first approached this theory, I thought it literally meant be his cheerleader.

Ok, I cheered in high school, I can do this. And I texted him throughout the day with “I am so proud of you” and “I appreciate everything you do” until he asked me to stop. That wasn’t what he wanted and let’s be honest it can make the best attention whore feel uncomfortable.

After stepping back and reevaluating I realized one thing in all the books I have read and seminars I have taking about the male/female brain (my work in early childhood education has given me a lot of time to study brain development, and I totally nerd out on it), is that men are doers, they don’t need to be showered with words and affection. They need a foot rub, or joining in on their most favorite activity. In our case, going to see them play, helping set up the merch table, understanding that what they do is hard on them also.

Women need words, we like to talk, talk about our day, talk about our feelings, talk about every aspect of our lives and how they work and who is where and why we are mad and so on and so on and so on…  we like to listen too, we want to understand and be understood. That is what makes a relationship tick for us.

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Let’s face it, males and females don’t necessarily fit, that is why it takes work, support, and dedication.

What we all want is companion, and what we get is confusion. You see, the battle of the sexes is real. Misunderstanding of what each other needs is the struggle, but if we remember to work together, our love becomes easier when we remember we are on the same team.

 

 

 

Dropping it Like it’s Hot

and other wisdoms I have learned in my thirties

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It’s my birthday month! I am not super into my birthday, at this age it’s like, whatever. There is something about waking up that morning, though, you still get that warm fuzzy feeling left over from your childhood. The “it’s my birthday” feeling. Then knowing (or hoping) your husband will roll over and wish you a happy birthday, or you go downstairs and your children will remember, or that text from your mom, and anticipating all the Facebook wishes. It always feels good, to know you’re remembered, especially when you are the absolute worst at giving out birthday wishes (guilty).

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With my two most excellent sisters who threw me the best Gatsby (30th) birthday a girl could ask for! 

I think it is safe to say I am officially into my mid-thirties… no significant number but ebbing in at the mids for sure. OK, I am thirty-four, but seriously, I don’t care. There is no shame in my age game. I am not a ‘still twenty-nine’ gal, I wear my thirties like a badge of honor. Everyone should! It is a beautiful decade from what I have seen of it so far. Thirty and flirty is true, flirt with life in your thirties, you should, you deserve it, you made it through your twenties.

Your twenties suck, let’s be honest. Sure, you’re having fun, you still have your friends and have energy to go drop it like it’s hot, but I like to describe your twenties like the junior high of your adulthood. You think your top shit, just out of elementary, a bad ass adult, but your awkward, and you don’t know what you want out of life nor do you know what life wants out of you. You don’t see it until you hit thirty then you look back and realize you were awkward, you didn’t know what you were doing, and you made a lot of mistakes. At least this was my experience.

You will keep making mistakes, don’t get me wrong, but you will just be a little less awkward at it in your thirties. My experience is a little different being that I started as a younger mom, so during my awkward, uncomfortable, middle school stage of adulting I threw in parenting, which makes you question even being a functioning human being all together. But I survived and got out alive, children still intact, and The Husband and I just barely holding on and white knuckling through the twenties.

Now in my thirties, I have been on this ride a few times, we have visited the proverbial Cedar Point quite a lot and even though the rides are always fun, we know most (MOST, we are still talking about life here) of the dips and turns, or at least which way to lean when you see them coming up around the bend and when to pose for the camera as your flying by. So, I thought, with all my wisdom in my old age I would pass on some of the most important things I have learned in my thirties to you.

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Sharing my womanly wisdom with all of you. You can thank me later. 

The most important is that you can still drop it like it’s hot past thirty, it just might not be as easy to bring it back up. I promise you, though, you will still look as good doing it as you did in your twenties. The best part about this is that in your thirties you stop caring so much about how good you look doing it, it’s fun and you don’t give a shit anymore.

Speaking of dropping it like it’s hot: this one is dropping it to a more serious note. Learn to wear your heart on your sleeve. I spent most of my twenties being emotionally constipated. I always watched what I said on social media because I didn’t want people to think I was crazy, or too loving, or that I had feelings. I never wanted to show any PDA because I didn’t want to make people uncomfortable, nor did I ever want ANYONE to see me cry. Heaven forbid I have emotions.

Now, I have realized that, well, once again, I don’t care anymore. If I love someone, or appreciate them, I am going to let them know. If I am sad I am going to cry. If I am happy I am going to cry. If I really like a song on the radio I am probably going to cry (you cry a lot in your thirties, but its good cries). I laugh harder, I hug tighter, and yes, I post all my emotions online and stopped giving a flying flit. And you know what? I am happier, and I think everyone around me likes me more.

Next: it is not selfish to take time to yourself, it is not selfish to put your husband before your children, it is not selfish to not be completely involved in every aspect of your child’s life. You are not a bad mom for saying “I am not signing you up for football because I don’t want to do it”. They are ten, you are the adult. They will not hate you forever and they will probably love you more when you are not completely burnt out and able to enjoy them instead of zombie-ing your way through their childhood, grumbling as you drive them from activity to activity.

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Just say no! 

Tell your children no, hell, tell others no also. Be honest with everyone but be more honest with yourself. If you just don’t want to do it, say that. You can say no, save yourself sanity, and go get a fabulously guilt free massage instead (this happens to be The Husband and my favorite place to go, if you are in the mid-Michigan area). It won’t make you any less of the fabulous thirty-year-old you are, and you are fabulous at thirty, so treat yo’ self, and just say no once in a while.

Lastly and more of being honest with yourself: Are you really ever going to have that bikini body? Does it really matter anymore? No! Are you happy and healthy? Because in your thirties, you don’t care anymore. I was always so worried about plucking, exfoliating, polishing, pulling, tucking, moisturizing, calorie counting, exercising, and covering everything up. Guess what? I don’t care anymore, and it feels amazing!

The only thing I am mad about now is all the time and energy I wasted on worrying about my outters when I should have been focused on my inners. I love every ripple, lump, and jiggle my body has. Every wrinkle and grey hair tells the story of how I have lived, laughed, and loved, and I don’t take an inch of that for granted.

So, remember to wear your thirties with pride, don’t hide your age. Be proud of how far you’ve come, how much you have learned, and how awesome you are!

 

Find Your People

The female strength is in numbers.

We tried and tried to get off the couch, we planned, we gave ourselves five more minutes, put away our phones, yet here we still sit. The Husband in the pocket, me, my lap top, typing away. It has definitely been a Sunday. We will take to kids to the park for our bike rides and swimming and grilling, but for now we sit, we absorb the busy weekend and create. The kids are now patiently going from video games, to toys, food, tv, more food… why are they always so hungry??? We sit here half way between sleep and creativity. I guess everyone needs that day of rest, that time to unload, and use our outlet. That day is going to be this particular Sunday. I sit here listening to the deep click-clacks of his bass over the radio and reflect on this weekend.

It was an amazing weekend, full of friends and family. The band families came over for a cook out and fire last night (our lives revolve around food and drinks, a necessity at every gathering). It was fun, there was a lot of laughs, and good conversation while all the children and dogs ran around. The radio was cranked, pounds of meat coking over the fire, instruments were out and ideas passed around. The good band family is definitely one to keep if you find it. I love gatherings of great minds and strong hearts, I think that would, at the least, describe all the people in our lives. It is important for bandmates to be close, for obvious reasons (they are practically living together at points). Beyond that, though, their loved ones as well. Band wives see each other a lot: gigs, practices, hangouts. We stop by to pick something up, drop something off, you will get to know each other’s children and the group in whole. They can become your closest support system, nobody will know better what you are going through than a band wife and more than that a band wife from the same band. These gals are so great and strong in my opinion, we are all from different walks, taking different steps, with completely different personalities but we all share one fact, our loves have been brought together to create, and we all have to deal with the chaos that follows. The band family usually extends from immediate family. I have gotten to know parents, siblings, friends, and roommates. It takes a village to raise a band, to support them, to keep them up and running. And I know that this band is in the depths of a great village.

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My people: Band wives go through a lot, why not stick it out together. Excuse the boys in the back, apparently musicians can never get in enough pictures. 

It also takes a village to help with the stress of having a very busy other half that is running all the time, between practices, gigs, travel time, late night focusing and early mornings rising (because music doesn’t always pay the bills and most of these guys are juggling a nine to five along with everything else). When you are the half at home, it can get just as tiring, and we need as much support as we can get. Even if it’s a quick bitch fest in the parking lot before the doors open at a show, one of those rare occasions where all the ladies were able to get together, sans kids and musicians. These are the people you surround yourself with when in this situation. The band family is important, and having an amazing group of girls you can gossip, complain, laugh and relate to is much of a necessity. I like to think we hit the jackpot with the band family, our kids all like getting together, we all get along, and sometimes fireworks (literally) happen. I think my best advice as a band wife would have to be find other band wives. Because even though family is awesome, a lot of times they don’t always understand the ridiculousness we deal with and finding people to relate to is a human need. Like every walk of life, find your people, keep them close, they can become vital to your well-being.

Tarnished Silver

Breaking the Stereotype of the Band Wife Life

This past weekend I went on a weekend trip with the husband, or I should say, following the band around. It was a hot, exhausting, and very fun weekend full of great memories and friends. Yes, another weekend trip away, this time with The Husband. I left the kids at home and hit the big city. I am getting the hang of these rush out of work, get the kids set up, and hit the road trips, all the spontaneity has my head reeling. First, up north, now to the west side of the state, maybe one day I will make it out of the state. In all reality, though, the band trips are not always what they are cracked up to be, I finally got a taste of what the guys go through and it wasn’t a walk in the park. There are a lot of stereotypes out there and for all the musician typecasts there are ones for us band wives. It hit me as I was standing in a sweltering line outside of one of the venues, with my ticket in hand when I ran into a friend and they were astounded that I, the wife of the band, would have to stand in lines, let alone buy a ticket. Most people have a very misconstrued idea of what a band wife is. There are so many stereotypes of us, from Yoko to your average groupie. To be honest, they get a little annoying and leave me somewhat self-conscious of how everyone views me and these blogs. I hope to shine light on some of these.

“I’m with the band” is a joke. Sure, we get to go in the back during set up time, carry a guitar case or two, we might not even have to stand in a line, but it is a very rare occasion when they don’t charge the “support staff”.  I pay the ten to twenty dollars to get my wristband and get in the door at least every other weekend. We may get dibs on the first tickets but we are paying full price and the bar is no different. Nothing sets us apart from any other fan, and I am OK with that, because for every ticket sold is one step higher they go, for every ten dollars we pay, they get two back. We are not just there for emotional support, we help fund the broken-down RV they just bought and the CD’s that need to be printed. Paying for a ticket beats paying out of pocket for the band needs, because what is his is mine, and what is mine is his and what is ours goes to the band.

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I give you the band mobile, their touring chariot, the living quarters of not so rich and famous. 
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She’s a little stinky but it gets them safely from city to city.

“You get to go on tours, sight see, and spend all that travel time with your husband” How about not. Let me walk you through my romantic, touristy weekend with The Husband. First, I rushed to the Friday night show, where after packing up, heading to the store for hotel snacks and drinks, and getting home, our heads hit the pillow around two a.m., six hours of sleep later we were up and ready to hit the road. We arrived at the venue at eleven because that was when they said to be there, which these places are never on time. I don’t know who runs these joints but get it together already! We then were stuck in the parking lot of a strip mall (with, literally, a strip club) waiting, all day. We had an SUV attached to a huge trailer fully loaded with an immense amount of band gear, we were not driving it down town to sight see. They don’t put these rock places near any landmarks, nice parks, or museums, they are on the outskirts, the other side of the tracks, with the strip clubs and the dollar stores. Cities like to hide their riff raff. Thank God for the Five Guys or we would have starved. It was miserably hot all day, I felt sick from the lack of sleep and healthy food (OK, and maybe just a touch of hangover, but I blame all the hotel water I drank that morning). This is touring, it is not glitter and gold, it is hard and tiring. This was only a short trip in state. If anyone thinks I am going on a cross country trip, getting into that busted ass RV with five stinky, sweaty, over partied and under slept dudes for weeks on end you are sorely mistaken, Dear Sir’s. Touring is not a vacation. I really can’t complain (though I just did), I was with The Husband, and as you all know, I will always take what I can get. We were in great company and made some hilarious memories, so the weekend trips I will do again, but I will stay out of the guy’s hair during the long hauls.

On of the highlights of the “touring” experience: my traveling buddy. Most definitely not a Yoko!

 

The Yoko Effect. I can guarantee that ninety-nine percent of us are not trying to break the band up. I know we can seem a little too involved at times (probably an understatement for me, I tend to get real involved) or we can get a little bitchy from time to time, but it is hard when our only time with them is usually shared with band mates. I know what I am in for but it won’t stop me from whining occasionally about him not being around. We don’t always want to be there but we love them, and when you love someone you want to share all their passions, and when there is music involved their passion is most likely one tracked. It becomes a fight or join scenario. It is very challenging for us to be with someone who is always on the go, and if the only way to get quality time is to follow the band around, damnit all, I will! The person I love the most is in a band, and I want to see him successful, happy, and proud; I want to see the band flourish. I guess you can call me a groupie if you so wish (but only for my husband), but don’t ever call me a Yoko!

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The reason for the band wife life, this guy, which I sometimes have to watch perform from the merch table. It’s not all that perfect, and its not all that terrible. Its tarnished silver, but it’s all out of love. 

 

 

 

The Desultory Trip

A weekend away from the band wife life.

I am looking up at this mountain from the bottom. Sitting on the patio of our vacation rental, I see the now green ski slopes and wonder when they were built, how much man-made work they put into them and how much of it was nature itself. I am looking forward to the rain coming in, an excuse to sit here all day and admire my mitten in all its beauty nature has given it.  From somewhere inside the beginning of a vast forest, that edges on the left of our patio, I hear a musical of birds, and a morning dove echoing. I wondered how far away or near it is. In all the mountains spread, you start to lose depth and gain perspective, my favorite thing about woods and being consumed by nature itself.

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I traveled to the great north on an invitation, to be with family and friends this holiday but I had leave the husband at home. One thing you should have as a band wife is an acceptance of spontaneity, you have to roll with the punches, and go with the flow. Sometimes The Husband might have used up all his time off on a band trip and sadly, cannot take a long holiday weekend off as planned. So, I muster up enough courage to drive four hours up north at night to be with our family. I am not a driver, and the thought of driving all by myself with our babies in tow was terrifying. But I made promises and we deserved a relaxing weekend away.

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My babies walking down the mountain

 

He will not miss every vacation and trip, we spent a week in Florida and did the whole Disney trip just this past fall. Which really wasn’t our cup of tea, but for the kids, we made an exception. We packed up and took off for a week in Orlando. It was busy and hot and all I could think the whole time is how they literally did “pave paradise and put up a parking lot” just as Joni Mitchel sang. It’s the cacophony of tourists and noise, new buildings being constructed and old ones tore down. It broke my heart, and left me feeling exhausted.  We get so busy; our lives are filled with noises and activity. Everywhere I go is loud, my job comes with its fair share of noise, shows are busy and loud, even at home we are making noise between The Husbands acoustic, the kids activities and my big mouth. It’s nice to be able to just get out from under all of it and unplug for a few days. Here we are, in the big great north, without the husband, not exactly how I wanted the weekend to go but I have been able to get time to think, to relax, enough peace to gather my thoughts and fill my lungs with some fresh mountain air. With my flow of thoughts this weekend comes this random blog post about all of them. Much like this weekend I don’t know where it’s going, no beginning, middle, or end.

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My thoughts, like the vast scenery, rambled on all weekend.

 

We have hiked the mountain, swam many laps, played multiple card games and laughed until we were sore, yet in the back of my head I still wish the husband could be here. This is the band wife life and it is what I chose. I could have stayed home this weekend, I could have made it to his shows but the noise of our everyday life was getting to be too much, much like Florida, leaving me exhausted, confused, and homesick. I chose to disconnect. I made the choice to go to the mountains, to forget about work for a while, to get lost in the woods every day while I am here, to clear my mind and find my peace. As a band wife we need to remember to be patient, selfless, flexible, supportive, ready to go at any moment, but most importantly we need to remember to stop. Stop occasionally and breath or you will suffocate. I have repeated this before, and most of these thoughts of mine are selfishly about yourselves as women (or men, whichever) but this is so important if you are with someone who’s hobby or job or where ever this talent they have may take them because it may take you farther then you want or possibly leave you behind. As in any relationship, focus on yourself when focusing on them becomes too much.

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