The Wackness

I got Middle to the arena at about 4:00. He had heard that his favorite band would be doing a sound check then and was hoping to be able to catch it. We made it in time and he and his friend J spent some time wandering around the parking lot with their cameras.
This particular arena is in a gorgeous spot – and the sky was a beautiful blue and there was a warm wind blowing. They liked standing on the roof of the Jeep best, taking photos of the crowd. And it was a big crowd too – that early. We heard about people flying in from all over to be at this show – reportedly one of the last shows that Middle’s favorite band is going to do. It was a very different crowd than the one I observed last summer while sitting outside that arena – I don’t know if it is regional or because it was “the last show” but the crowd was older and far less weirdly decked out. They looked, if I can make a sweeping statement, more musically mature. Sure, there were a few people with lots of studs in their faces but there seemed to be a healthy mix of kids Middle’s age along with people in their 30’s and 40’s.
Because we were there so early, I got a primo parking space. I don’t think I could have been more than a couple of hundred yards from the stage (can that be?) which was outdoors.
The boys went off to find their seats and I settled in with the Sunday paper, some office work (which I never got to) and my laptop.
I had told K that I’d need a movie to watch in the car and he offered
Atonement, which I rejected. I told him I needed a Juno and he returned from the library with The Wackness.
Middle was totally impressed with The Wackness – said it is one of his favorite movies and I’ll admit, it took me a little while to get into it – but I liked it very much too.
The Wackness, if I may, is a movie about a kid who sells drugs in the way that Juno is a movie about a girl who gets pregnant. There’s a lot going on. And when Shapiro got on that elevator, at the end, my heart broke a little too.

Oh, so, the thing about my primo parking spot? I heard the entire concert. This made me very happy. It was perfect, in fact, as I love the band too but could never have sat through it with Middle.

For weeks and weeks we’ve been asking Middle what he’d like to do for graduation. When Oldest graduated, we threw a party at the house. Family came from all over and we had a great barbecue. We celebrated his accomplishment and were very proud. We offered Middle the same kind of party – he wanted nothing to do with it. I suggested dinner in town with just our family, he said no. I told him he could bring some friends out for burgers. He didn’t want to. I explained that we wanted to celebrate his achievement somehow and he said he understood but did not feel a celebration was in order. (I’m hoping he changes his mind the next time he graduates.)

The warm wind turned colder. The sun set and made pretty colors and I texted Middle to ask how cold he was in his thin tee shirt and he texted back that he was freezing. Just as I got that text a woman walked past me and said, into her phone, “I just wanted to tell ya: I love ya and I’m thinking about ya.”
I texted back that Middle should look for a tour sweatshirt.
He replied that they were too expensive.
How expensive?
Very expensive.
I bit my lip and texted back as fast as I could that K and I wanted him to buy one.
I sat in the car thinking of him, watching his favorite band, cheering with that giant crowd – not wanting anyone to make any kind of fuss over him – hoping he was warm, hoping he let us treat him to that sweatshirt and by the time the concert was over he told me the sweatshirts had sold out. He returned to the car beaming. In a new hat.

Happy graduation Middle.
You’ve made us proud.

Comments

Anonymous said…
so cool, I drove past earlier this week to see the p-lot. HGM!
Tutta la Storia said…
Great story this morning. Congrats Middle!
MsCellania said…
Hey - Middle is a genius as 75% of body heat is lost via the head. Or so I've read re skiing apparel...

Congrats to Middle - only 4 (5? 6?) years of education left. In that great school you selected.
Life Is Good!
Jen on the Edge said…
He sounds like such a great guy.
Lauri said…
Congrats to middle - he's an awesome person...
Badger said…
Aw, Middle. I less than three him.
robiewankenobie said…
and this? in a nutshell? is why you kickass. i'm sure he'll remember this celebration as being perfect. happy graduation middle!
smalltownmom said…
Hats are good.
robiewankenobie said…
–– i may be prejudiced because my parents guilted me into walking at my college graduation over seeing my favorite band play their last performance in my home town. my brother was on the crew, and could have gotten me back stage. to this day, i'd still choose the band over the photo op.
alice c said…
Congratulations Middle - I hope that the world is ready for you because you have so much to bring to the party.
RW said…
what a great way to commemorate graduation.

I love sharing music memories with my children.
Pretty Things said…
First, you're such a good mom.

Second, I read the book Atonement and don't think I could do the movie.

And third, lucky you on the concert!!!!
stellamarys said…
A charming post. (That is NOT sarcastic!) I read you every day but do not comment - until now.
Anonymous said…
Yeah, he got what he wanted. Bravo.
To you too, of course, for being my role model mom.
Paola
Ree said…
Yay for Middle. What a sweet kid.
Anonymous said…
NIN is my favorite band, too. Last time I saw them live I bought a tour sweatshirt, and yes, they were very expensive, but I figured it was a hoodie I could use for years to come. And I was right. My husband and I have a race to see who can get ready faster and put the sweatshirt on first.
kmkat said…
My #2 son, who is much like your Middle, loved NIN, too, although he never got to see him in concert. I remember thinking, when I graduated from hs that is was not such a big accomplishment that it deserved a big celebration. The next graduation, yes; hs, no. I love that boy.
Jen said…
Quite right about the sweat shirt. I'll forever regret not buying that "everything reminds me of my dog" tee shirt at Jane Siberry, 18 years ago.
Anonymous said…
Thanks everyone.

-middle
islaygirl said…
this reminds me of the fabled Airport Post. Congratulations, Middle, and well done, bb.

xx
Anonymous said…
Ugh, Atonement. Worst 90 minutes of my life. Plus or minus.

I too heart Middle. What a good egg he is.

jbhat
Scot said…
Congrats Middle - good for you! I went to the graduation ceremony of friends the year before I graduated, when my turn came I thought there's NO way I'm sitting through that! I partied with my friends instead and had a memorable time.
And good for you also BB, Atonement SUCKED! They should have called it Excuses not atonement. There was no atonement earned. Great cast, crappy movie.
catsteevens said…
For some reason this made me cry, really REALLY cry (and it seems I'm the only one crying). Maybe because I now have boys or maybe the sweet way you wrote about it. You're an awesome Mom with an amazing kid.

Congrats Middle!
Anonymous said…
Ah, Middle. I'm glad you had the night you wanted. Sounds like it turned out just right.

ErinH
I adore how you "get" him.
This sounds like the perfect sort of memory for years to come.
jenny said…
bb - I just love these stories of you and your boys. Love them.

from all accounts you've got some pretty spectacular kids there.