Keep on rockin’ in the (stress) free world

I was reading over my old blog last night, and I came across this gem. I love this post. I wrote it when we only had two kids. Charlie was four and Finn was two. It was back before we had the twins, autism, cerebral palsy, IEPs, homework, teasing on the bus, basketball, Boy Scouts, Challenger Sports… you get the idea. Stress is all about perspective. I think it’s funny that I sit here now laughing at the “stress” I had back then. If I only knew!

Wanna take a trip down memory lane?

“Times they are a changin'”…Waxing philosophical from the minivan

Some days, I look around and feel like I don’t even recognize the person I’ve become. I drive a minivan loaded with Disney paraphernalia. I live in a spacious 4 bedroom in the burbs. I drink nary a drop of alcohol, and I’m NOT wearing Doc Martens. If any idea could’ve been more shocking and offensive to me in 1998, it would have been this!

Tailgating before a show in Camden with two girls I never would’ve thought I’d lose touch with! It was probably about 2:30 in the afternoon… we were artful about our tailgating!

It’s funny, because this life is what I’ve always wanted. I never expected anything less. As Joe likes to remind me, it is all part of my master plan and it’s true. But, sometimes, when I’m driving around my Mickey mobile, in between the Laurie Berkner songs on the Ipod, a Pearl Jam song comes on and I am transfixed by the memories. Suddenly I’m standing amid the palpable waves of the crowd and it’s just me and Eddie. I turn up the music, belt along with his crackling baritone and remember what it was like to be carefree!

Back then, the biggest decisions I made were cider or shots for pregame, and who was going to be “sober sister” (the ultimate sacrifice!) We would have entire conversations about how much we loved Miller Lite and insisted we would be cool forever! We swore we would still go to Pearl Jam concerts even in our 30s (why not our 40s? Oh yea, because 40 was unthinkable!) We used to scoff at the “old heads” sitting down at concerts, and swear it would never be us!

Having kids and driving a minivan was a “someday” thing, but certainly not a reality! It was like a fairytale; a story I could see myself in, but the characters and scenery were so far fetched!

This is my best friend Helen and I for Pearl Jam’s 1998 tour. I flew to South Carolina for a show in that tour! Incidentally, that was also the closest I’ve ever gotten to Eddie… a personal high for me!

Today, as I live my own personal “fairytale” it is with no regret. I don’t look back on those days and wish I were there. I lived those days to their fullest. I made sure I was the last to leave the party. If there were fun to be had, I was having it. I played my share of beer pong; forged my share of fraternity pranks. I held my Bic high waiting for the second encore, without worry of getting home at a “decent time” or “fighting the traffic to get out.” I never said “no” to a concert, in fact, tailgating could’ve been my minor. (One time, we rented a U-Haul and loaded it with living room furniture and a BBQ and drove it to a concert with about 15 of us lounging in the back!) I lived carelessly for as long as the universe allowed, for I knew one day I would be living for someone else.

I have the two most precious boys in the world who devote their undying love to me every day. Charlie drops his schoolbag and gives me the biggest hug every time I drop him off at school and Finny calls me “prinpress” (princess). Every day I’m aware of just how fleeting life is at every stage. Although those drunken days and nights seem so distant now, I have a lifetime of memories to take with me. And all it takes is one Pearl Jam song to bring me right back!

Nobody wants to be the oldest one at the party. I’ve seen the moshpit after everyone’s gone and it’s a sad amalgam of shoes, clothes and teeth. My carefree time was brief, but well lived. I can’t look back on a single thing and wish I did it another way. I believe in never living with regret.

I only hope I can fully appreciate my children at every stage because I am all too aware of the little old lady at the supermarket looking at my chaos with a knowing smile and a jealous glance. I know that one day, I will be walking Shop Rite alone buying Clam Chowder instead of Alphabet Soup and missing the days when all I needed in the world was sitting in the shopping cart pulling each other’s hair!

This was how we tailgated before the last Pearl Jam concert on Halloween. It’s no U-haul, but we had a great time!

My Doc Martens may be Uggs now, but my life, as is my footwear, is a lot more comfortable! My choice of beer (albeit rare that I drink it) happily is no longer Miller Lite. My 4 bedroom house is WAY better than the 6 bedroom sorority house. And who are we kidding? I used to drive a 1989 4-door Toyota rollerskate, the minivan is definitely a step up!! And I’ll take the love of my husband and two wonderful sons anyday over the love of Eddie Vedder (my inner stalker just said “what?”)

The lights have gone out on my party days, but I have other things lighting my life now and they are way brighter!

Eddie rocking out at the last show in Philly’s Spectrum in 2009. Yes, I took this picture.

Ironically, the party days for Eddie, father of 2, are a lot tamer than they used to be. Going to one of his concerts is more spiritual than physical these days and that’s just the way I like it.

Eddie’s guttural voice only gets better with age. I may be sitting down at his concerts someday, but I’ll still be going. Maybe I’ll even bring my boys!


One thought on “Keep on rockin’ in the (stress) free world

  1. “Nobody wants to be the oldest one at the party. I’ve seen the moshpit after everyone’s gone and it’s a sad amalgam of shoes, clothes and teeth. My carefree time was brief, but well lived. I can’t look back on a single thing and wish I did it another way. I believe in never living with regret.”

    I absolutely love this post. But I especially love that you used the word “amalgam”. Rock on, Shan. You were awesome then (I can say this because I knew you when) and you’re awesome now.

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