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10:27 a.m. - 2011-07-06
Another Rite of Passage

Tonight Wolf is going to his first real concert, Mack and Bri are taking him to see Soundgarden.

Yes, when Mack first asked if Wolf could go my first reaction was, "What? No way! My kid isn't old enough for concerts!"

I really couldn't use Mack as an example, his dad's been taking him to concerts for years. I remember one particularly gruesome day back when the boys were in 5th grade I was at the school for something (Class mom? Meeting?) and Mack came dragging in like the walking dead. He'd been taken to see ZZ Top the night before and the poor kid ended up sleeping most of the day curled up in the reading nook at the back of the classroom. The teachers and I shared a horrified look over the irresponsibility of taking a 10 year old to a rock concert on a school night.

However, I've come to know Bri better and understand his dragging Mack off to concerts and putting him on the back of his Harley and taking Mack to the pistol range etc, etc has been Bri's way of doing for his kid what I've tried to do for mine, namely to give our sons an honest shot at being 'regular' kids. Doing our best with our square pegs. Me? I am constantly explaining the world and the people in it to my boy. Hoping that with enough exposure and repetition the mystifying folkways of the neuro-typical will start to make sense. Bri's taken a more…um…pro-active approach. And who's to say one method is better than the other? Come fall Mack is going to district school just as Wolf is. The only kids to accomplish this feat out of the whole jr high gang. Mack is polite, honest, and aside from a tendency toward hypochondria, he's as 'regular' as Wolf is.

It wasn't this success story that changed my mind about Wolf's going with them tonight though. What did it for me was Led Zeppelin.

See, the summer when I was 14 a friend scored tickets to see Led Zep at Madison Square Garden. And my mother flat out refused to let me go. Why? She had her reasons.

Because it would be too much fun for me and I'd get biggety thinking I was entitled to fun like a normal person. Because my going into the city might cost her some money. At that time all of my pay from modeling and half of what I earned working for Walt the One-Armed Landscaper was hers. Even if the concert ticket was a freebie there was still my bus ticket and possibly some food and definitely a concert t-shirt, why, my spree in the city might end up costing her her entire cut of my weekly paycheck! Plus who knows what time we'd get back? She had better things to do than wait up for me or God forbid, have to pick me up at the bus station in the middle of the night (ie: about 1:00am). Plus, if I went to a concert my sisters might get grand notions that they were allowed to do things too and then where would she be? Poor Mom with all those daughters going off to concerts and parties and indulging in any number of expensive and/or time consuming activities! The horror! So no. No Led Zep for LA.

Right? Screw that noise. My kid is 14 and his best friend wants to treat him to a cool concert. He's going and that's that.

You know that thing where kids vow when they get big they'll never do such-and-such to their kids? I made that vow. And for the most part I've kept it. As a mom I've screwed up plenty, but as of 5:17pm January 16, 1985 I've worked so damn hard not to let my sons or my younger self down. That powerless, self-esteem in the toilet, too beaten down to rebel, sad girl who swore things would be different for my own kids has made good on that promise. As best I could anyhow. All the flubs I've made (and will continue to make) with my sons have come from ignorance, not because I was too lazy or believed I was entitled to fuck over my children to even up some kind of debt they owed me for being born.

Alex will never believe that of me. Ever. He'll go on feeling ripped off and deprived for the rest of his life, I'm sure.

Wolf? I don't harbor any secret hope it'll be any different with him in the end. The self-comforting allure of "Let's blame Mom!" is too seductive. But at least he can't chalk one up against me because I didn't let him go to the Soundgarden concert.


Washing away the rain, ~LA

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