Thursday, September 12, 2013

Three Out of Five Stars

(Photo by Jeremy Burgess, found originally here.)
Anna June's day yesterday started out great. Her class has a substitute teacher that AJ adores. They went on a field trip to the Birmingham Children's Theater and saw a play that they all enjoyed. They got patriotic ribbons (stapled to their shirts?) for Patriot's Day, a celebration of 9-11-01. This week they're having a writer's workshop in After School Care and they're writing a book. Uncle Drew came over for dinner.

And then, Drew and I went to see The Black Crowes. Every time I see them, my most favorite band in the whole entire world, I wonder if it will be the last time. We're all getting older, pursuing other interests. I may have missed a show or two, but I think I've seen them about sixteen times.

We were supposed to do this on Tuesday, but then Chris and Rich Robinson's dad, Stan, passed away in Atlanta. They came to Birmingham for this sold out show in a smaller venue. 1300 fans really appreciated their effort on what must have been a really hard day for them. The show was, in my opinion, one of the best. Their energy was great, the music was great, and it was the smallest place I've ever seen them - making it more intimate and exciting. I got close enough to really see the band. I was there with Drew, but we met up with many of our friends. When I saw my dear friend Tara, she said, "I just was wondering where you were!" though we had not talked about it beforehand. As if I would miss them on purpose.

There was no opening act, and the show started at 8. I was home by 10:30.

AJ, however, didn't have such a great time. Ben said everything went smoothly until it was time to go to bed. Then it was "I want Mama!" and a lot of screaming and tears. Ben did every thing he knew to do. He sang to her. He read to her. He let her play with the light. They prayed together. Still, she claimed to be scared. He let her sleep in the floor in our room, then her room, then, finally, at wit's end after nearly two hours of this awful, teary mess, she finally got in the bed with him and he let her. I probably would have done all the same things. So I moved her back to her bed when I got home.

At 3 AM, she woke up, scared again. She's been having nightmares nearly every night lately, but usually I can comfort her quickly and she'll either go right back to bed or will come make a pallet on our floor. But last night, she went through the whole rigmarole with us all over again: her bed, the floor. She kept trying to get in our bed but I wouldn't let her. Crying. Screaming. I want mama. I want to go home. Over and over and over. I went to take Radar out, who was also wide awake by this tantrum, and then when I came back, Ben was tucking her in to the pallet on the floor on my side of the bed. Whatever works, I say. It was 3:30. Needless to say, I was a little late this morning.

It is possible that AJ would have had a hard time going to sleep without my absence. It is possible that she'd had a day so filled with activity that she couldn't unwind, no matter how great our going to bed time went. But it sure did make me feel guilty. How could I go out without my husband? How could I leave AJ on a school night in schedule upheaval? This is not the first time this has happened. Shouldn't I know better by now?

So, like the reviewer for The Birmingham News, I give the evening three out of five stars. I get a star for having dinner prepped and in the oven and on the table as planned. I get a star for having fun with my friends and relations. I get a star for a great band playing wonderful music that connects with my soul every single time I listen to them. (I think that I've said that before.)  I don't get a star for leaving my house in upheaval to the point that we were all awake at 3:15, when I explained to AJ that I really didn't care if she went back to sleep, but she had to be quiet or I wouldn't be able to sleep. I don't get a star for leaving Ben with the burden of our sweet, beautiful little girl who can do everything well except for go to bed.

Maybe next time I won't set out to have fun. Maybe this was the last time.

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