What would you say to someone whose music is part of your very being, and whose words have captured, influenced and inspired your feelings and moods for a third of your lifetime? If you are me, you’d be freaking brilliant after the fact. In the moment? Not so much.
I had the insanely good fortune to have met my favorite band again Sunday. I was totally not nervous (LIE!) because we’d crashed their sound check earlier in the afternoon, and my shock at being in the same zip code with Canadian royalty had de-escalated. Incidentally, it’s amazing that doors open for you by simply asking, “How do you get back into the stage area?” Right this way, ladies!
Nikki and I had purchased band meet & greet tickets, so were ushered to a room to meet, take pictures and talk with the band after the show. So what do you think you would say? Beyond the “I LOVE you guys, LOVE the new album” stuff, you find you don’t probably have a ton in common personally. You exist in different stratospheres in terms of life experiences, but for this: you’re all parents. I mean, to know me is to love me–I’m pretty smart, I’m funny, I can maintain a decent conversation, I’m obviously incredibly modest!–but I suffer no delusions that we’re friends (they don’t pay top dollar for the opportunity to talk with me, I get that it’s the other way around. They’re not gonna call & invite me to dinner or anything like that–I know this). With them, I share the experience of having become a parent.
I have worked in public schools for 24 years. Where I live, public schools have become a target for conservative politicians set on eviscerating my district and turning us over to private charter vendors. (Some other time. . .) I spoke with Jim Creeggan at length about the amazing things he does in support of his children’s public school. He must be the most kick-ass “room dad” ever! Being a rock star probably opens some doors that’d remain locked for someone like me, but that he’s opened them has allowed for continued growth of programs he’s begun. I was knocked out by what he does for his children. Straight-up knocked out. I don’t do what he does specifically, but I accomplish things for my kids’ public school in a way that fits my stratospheric assignment. Being a parent is the most important job one ever gets, so it matters.
I spoke with Ed Robertson about my son’s MD. I asked him to sign a t-shirt “greater than gravity” and explained why that mattered to me, and yes, I WAS TOTALLY NERVOUS. At first. And then we spoke about the challenges parenting presents, and I realized that we were having a for reals conversation about how, as a parent, you never don’t worry. How when your babies pop into the world with all the right pieces and parts, you think, “I got this” but you can have NO IDEA what you got. Suddenly I wasn’t so nervous. He asked what MD meant for my son, and the oh-so-well-spoken speech pathologist said something super insightful like, “He’ll probably be in a wheelchair in 20 years. Yeah, it sucks a lot.” Super, Wendy. Neither brilliant nor eloquent. Still, the guy who’s written much of the soundtrack to my adulthood wished me luck and strength because he’s a parent, and gets how much you love your kids and want nothing but a charmed life for them. I could’ve been all, “I love you guys, I love the new album, your music has changed my life,” because that’s entirely true. Instead I had these two amazing, earnest conversations with two men I admire and respect about our common thread.
Their Get Back Up is my anthem, but I also wish I’d have said, please play When I Fall Saturday in Milwaukee!