Guest Blog Post: Rockin’ in the Free World by Susan Konig, later mom & author, Teenagers & Toddlers Are Trying to Kill Me
Women of my generation were trained early on — when a Beatle walks in the room, you scream; no other response is appropriate.
So when I took the kids to see Ringo Starr play Radio City Music Hall in New York, as soon as the funny one (who is now a grandfather) walked on stage, I issued forth a scream — much to the mortification of my sons. Not even their adulation for the Beatles was a sufficient antidote for the embarrassment of your mom screaming like a public ninny.
It wasn’t until I looked around and saw some other middle-aged women waving their arms and screaming, “We love you, Ringo!” that I realized this perhaps was unsuitable behavior for adults over the age of 19. But these women are me. I am them. We are old. Kookookachoo.
It was cool to be a part of history, one that my kids appreciate, even though it is ancient history to them. This may be the last concert we ever attend together.
Our Teenage Daughter is the age where going to a concert with her mom is about as appealing as…well, as going to a concert with her dad.
It happened so quickly. I miss the good old days of escorting her to Miley Cyrus concerts, with special guests the Jonas Brothers! It seems like just last year she went with another family to see Taylor Swift. Actually, it was just last year.
Now she wants to go to hipster venues and see hipster bands I’ve never even heard of. Nothing makes you feel older than talking to your teenage daughter about music (The kids today! With their hair and their music!)
Last week, she wanted to know if she could go see Vampire Weekend and Of Montreal. I stood there and blinked, momentarily stumped. I wanted to pick Of Montreal because it sounded less threatening than Vampire Weekend. (Montreal is a lovely French Canadian city with many quaint shops and bistros. Vampires suck your blood.) But Vampire Weekend was playing Radio City Music Hall and I know what that is. (It’s where Ringo sings.) Of Montreal was at Terminal Five and I don’t know what that is except I drove by once and saw all these Goth kids waiting to get in – are they still called
While negotiations were underway, Vampire Weekend sold out so that was that. If we were going to let her go, it was going to be Of Montreal. At Terminal Five. With the Goth. But I liked the kids she was planning to go with (not a Goth in the bunch) and one of the moms (also not a Goth) was picking up afterward.
I told my husband.
“Absolutely not. No, she can’t go to Montreal,” he said, “she’s just a kid!”
“It’s a band. They sing that Outback steakhouse commercial.”
“It’s a what? They sing the huh? In the where?”
“What’s the matter with you? Pay attention.”
Let’s have bizarre celebrations, I sing.
Let’s go to Outback and have steaks tonight…I improvise.
I remind him that this is not her first concert. “Over the summer, we let her go see Panic Room.”
“They’re called Passion Pit!” our Teenage Daughter yells down the hall in an exasperated tone.
“Right, Passion Pit,” I call back. “They are beast!”
“Mom, don’t say ‘beast,’” begs our Teenage Son.
“Well, they are,” I say.
“Yes,” my husband agrees, “Pumpkin Patch are the beastiest.”
Our daughter thinks I am, as the kids say, strictly L-7. (Did kids ever say that?) But I’ve been around —
I remember when I was nine, Sue Schmidt’s parents took us to see David Cassidy at Madison Square Garden. I wore a party dress and patent leather party shoes and screamed so much I popped my chain belt.
Once, when I was 16, my mom, who was pretty strict, let me go with friends to see Jethro Tull even though I had to retake the SATs the next day. That was pretty shocking. I guess she wanted me to relax and not stress about it. I went to see Tull (who I didn’t even like) – they played a forty minute set with no encores, lots of booing, and got me home early.
My math score went up 100 points the next day. Maybe Of Montreal will help our daughter with French. Bien sur!
Susan Konig has been a staff writer for The Washington Post, an editor at Seventeen magazine and a columnist for The New York Post. Her articles and essays have appeared in many national publications including Ladies’ Home Journal, Travel & Leisure, First for Women and Parade. She co-hosted the popular Speak Now…with Dave and Susan Konig on Sirius Satellite radio with her Emmy Award-winning comedian husband.
Her first book Why Animals Sleep So Close to the Road (and Other Lies I Tell My Children) was called “brilliant, witty, and downright Bombeckian” by USA Today. Her follow-up I Wear the Maternity Pants in This Family was a Parade Pick in Parade magazine. Teenagers and Toddlers Are Trying to Kill Me! is based on a true story. Follow Susan on Twitter @susankonig and at www.susankonig.net. Order Teenagers & Toddlers Are Trying to Kill Me! on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!