When I saw that Justin Timberlake was going to be at the Times Union Center in Albany, I was pretty excited. JT’s newest single “Say Something” was on rotation in our after dinner family dance party playlist, and come on — I’ve loved Justin since his Justified album. *NSYNC was cool and all…but corny. Anyway, the show was months away at that point — 4 or 5 months, I think — but it would likely sell out fast, so we decided to grab some good tickets.
Pre-parenthood, my husband and I would frequent concerts of all kinds, finding excitement ranging from easygoing, chill vibes to wild crowds to some foul-mouthed, annoyed concertgoers bumping into us looking for a confrontation. We’ve battled for front row standing room to see Liam Gallagher in Boston, danced our faces off at John Brown’s Body in Chicago and a few times in California, and Eve 6 in Orange County was quite the experience, to name just a few.
But, as I sat looking at the order confirmation email, I wondered…are we being irresponsible? I had realized I was sitting in the exact same spot in my living room as I was when news of the Ariana Grande concert bombing broke. Cue the mom guilt and anxiety.
Motherhood, for me, has brought about a certain layer of caution. I think it’s normal, as I don’t go overboard with it. But, while my initial thought was “Let’s go see JT!” — my little mommy conscience started wagging her finger and telling me that going to an arena with thousands of people, where you’re in a confined area was a bit of an unnecessary risk as a parent. To be honest, I’m also not a huge fan of movie theaters unless I’m in the back near the door and this started way before being a mom.
If parents don’t do things like this — things that we enjoy and enjoyed before parenthood — we will go nuts and lose our sense of self. And, of course — none of us can live in fear, so there’s that, too. I was conflicted.
As the JT date neared, I admit, my anxiety over the possibilities heightened. I talked about it with my husband and mom who did an amazing job at reassuring me I was just feeling like this because I’m a new mom. My husband logically broke down the security measures with me and then looked me dead in the eyes, held my shoulders, kissed my forehead and said, “If you don’t want to go, we won’t. And, if we go and at any point, you want to leave - we leave. Simple as that." I thought about it for a little while. Then, I told him, “Let’s have fun and where do you want to go for a drink beforehand?” Simple as that.
And, we did have a LOT of fun.
Sigh. Does it get easier?