Friday, July 2, 2010

My Perfect Night ~ Then & Now

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My idea of a perfect night 2000: Dinner at Flat Top Bar & Grill, an intimate little Guster concert at The Vic, and finding some dive bar to hang out in until they kick us out at closing time.

My idea of a perfect night 2010: A Dinner that isn't stuck in the cracks of a high chair, a DVR'd 3 week old episode of American Idol ~ Hollywood week, and hoping I get a few good hours of sleep before being awakened by a crying baby.

What a difference 10 years makes in that of a new mom. I can't remember the last time I "went out" (is that what the kid's still call it these days?). I fondly remember picking up and hitting the "City" at a moment's notice. Running without a plan and doing anything and everything on a whim. There was a certain glamor to be driving in from northwest Indiana and seeing the city all lit up. It made me feel all tingly and giddy inside. Can you tell, I didn't get out much?

I met a number of really cool people and bands (or at least people and bands that thought were cool) like, Guster, Nine Days, Vertical Horizon, Shawn Mullins, and Pat McGee Band just to name a few. It was a high and an adrenaline rush I never felt in any other way to talk to them and take pictures with them. I got all worked up standing in line to get their autograph, or waiting outside in the cold for hours hoping they would come out and talk to us. I will admit, I was a giggly, annoying groupie. Most people would have hated me for that back then.

Fast forward 10 years. Instead of the House of Blues and The Vic, I am now frequenting venues like Allstate Arena and the Star Plaza Theatre to attend some of the hottest new shows out there. I'm talking about The Wiggles, Imagination Movers, and anything related to my 3 year olds best friend, Mickey Mouse. And instead of the rush I got from meeting the guys of Guster, I am now feeling the same intensity alongside my 3 year old while we are high-fiving Mover Rich or Mover Dave.

But what makes it a million times better; makes my heart race and my eyes widen, is I get to share it all with my son. The boy is following so closely in his mother & father's footsteps when it comes to a love of music; it's incredible. He feels the exact same way as I used to years ago. He bops to the music, sings the songs aloud, and understands the hype of getting to see a "band" up close and in person. He has a high pitched squeal that could put any female Beatles fan to shame. He just gets it. And for that I am so proud.

It's okay by me to put these bands and groups on a pedestal for my kids. They are good role models and give my son someone to look up to besides those he knows in real life.  Kids are going to create their own idols, no matter what; the least I can do as a mother is point them in the direction of those I think are right for them. The Imagination Movers teach teamwork, problem solving, hard work, and how to have fun all the while. I look forward to being able to incorporate my own favorite bands and songs into his ever expanding musical repertoire as he gets older. Introducing music to kids at a very young age is key to their artistic and creative development, and with the depletion of musical programs in so many schools these days, it is important to start kids off right on the right toe-tapping foot, from the very start. And it is up to the parent to give the child the tools to experience music and all of its possibilities.

Now, even though I miss those crazy nights out on the town, I have my very own musical idol right here in my very own home. And playing Beatles Rock Band with him is the most excitement you will find me having on a Saturday night. And you know what? I am totally okay with that.

Originally posted to Chicago Moms Blog on March 11, 2010.
When Jen isn't dancing and singing with her kids; at home or at a live concert, she's blogging about all; openly and honestly at her personal blog, Mommy Instincts or twittering about it at @mommyinstincts.

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