The Joy of Seeing Your Loved Ones (Especially Your Teens) Happy – Like Really Happy!

By Zerline Hughes

I unlocked something this weekend that’s still got me floored.  My tween daughter can actually have fun. I mean, beaming, jumping, throw-your-hands-in-the-air-like-you-just-don’t-care fun! Even her brother couldn’t believe his eyes and stood still in disbelief. I swear!

Two months ago, I planned to invest in concert tickets for these two and me to see The Chainsmokers. They’re all the rage in electronic dance music (EDM) or electropop, and thanks to my Sirius XM BPM channel (and my desire to connect with the kids and be youthful), I actually love The Chainsmokers. So, when I heard the group would be at the outdoor Merriweather Post Pavilion venue – and asked if the kids wouldn’t be too embarrassed to go to a concert with their mom – I got the tickets. (But lemme tell, you, they weren’t cheap; I made an extra 30-mile commute just to save on the service charge for three tickets!)

So we get there and there’s masses of 20-somethings – probably 18-somethings … and a good amount of 14-and-up somethings. Daisy-dukes and butt cheeks, major boobage (or at least attempts) and glittered faces and shoulders were everywhere. It was a mini Coachella. It was too hard not to judge or lecture, but I was losing cool-mom points, so I had to stop. (Ahem, since we were getting quite a dose of marijuana contact, I did sneak in a quick lesson on the misconception of drug use and race disparity: there were only a few dots of African Americans there, so I learned them that Blacks are not the leading users of weed, yet we are incarcerated at alarming rates more than whites.)

Because I was still hoping for young innocence, I brought some coloring activities for the three of us so boredom wouldn’t set in and ruin the evening while we waited for the show to start. We each colored on tiny “adult coloring book” canvases from Five Below. The girl even begged to get started on hers in the car like a small child. That made me happy. One cool point for mom. Then, even though we brought our own food, I sprung for some $8 french fries – twice. (They were actually pretty good). Two more cool points for mom. It was a sweet, fun, chill afternoon in the woods with some good DJing from Lost Frequencies and meh-decent singing by Kiiara.

By sundown, when The Chainsmokers arrived onstage, everyone got up on their feet from their blankets – and we never sat back down. All of a sudden, my girl was singing – like ALL the words to the songs, clutching her heart, even. She was jumping when we were told to jump to the beat. She was even waiting for whatever her song was to be performed before agreeing to leave for home. This tween was smiling, laughing and having a genuinely great time.






I honestly can’t say I remember her enjoying one of our family outings this much since she’s become an adolescent. I know there are some, but nothing stands out like this concert experience. She did try the ‘I’m-too-cool-for-this’ routine at first – and understandably so. She was, in fact, at a concert with her mom, but that soon melted away and we were jumping and singing and dancing together.

Sidenote: I use the term “singing” loosely. When I don’t know all the lyrics to a song, I’m pretty good at making up my own  just so I can sing along and stay on beat by the time the chorus comes, but I didn’t wanna embarrass the kids too much, so I promised myself I’d research all the lyrics so I wouldn’t look like a weirdo. Of course, that didn’t make my to-do list, but The Chainsmokers saved the day when they scrolled the words of two of their songs on a screen. Score! I looked cool. One more cool point for mom!

All this to say, my investment in these concert tickets was sooooo worth it. Coachella, here we come!

Oh, and my response to my daughter’s fun wasn’t the only surprise. Not only was my son surprised to see his sister enjoying life, he was also impressed at my antics. This outing made me realize they’ve not often seen me in my favorite elements around dance and music, making a fool out of myself. The boy actually said, “I like seeing you have a good time, mom.”

That warmed my heart.

And in turn, I love seeing these two having a good time. Here’s to a summer full of good times.

… Oh, and if you weren’t keeping track, I’m up to four mom cool points.


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