A long time ago, in a previous life time there were two seasons. Fall Tour and Spring Tour. Widespread Panic, of course. “Excitement on the Side” is actually a line from WSP’s “Bowlegged Woman.”
Long ago vacations were spent in a haze catching as many Panic shows as I could before I returned to work and my relatively more responsible life. And then I was pregnant (and I still caught a few shows) and then Emily was born and my life suddenly seemed too busy to take a week to run around and “see a band.” I caught a few shows here and there when Em was still under a year old. I can’t be the only music fan that rolled in to a hotel room full of people I hadn’t seen in forever and immediately set up a breast pump.
And then life went from busy to messy with my divorce. I guess some couples have “a song.” Jer and I had a whole god damn band. It was part of what we did together. We got new cars when we were pregnant with Em and immediately sticker slammed them and got matching WSP license plates, COCONUTS for me CHILYH2O for him. You give up a lot when you leave a long relationship: friends, furniture, your favorite sweatpants since they don’t actually belong to you. But I was determined not to give up my band!
The next few years brought a handful of Panic shows. All of them messier than the last. I didn’t have a lot of kid-free time in the early days as a single parent and the prospect of running in to Jeremy and all of our old friends was overwhelming at a show. I boogied my ass off, I drank beers like it was my job and I tried to pretend like it wasn’t so god damned hard. It was a band, man. And if I wasn’t a Panic fan, what was “my thing?” Hard to find the bumper stickers that adequately express “I’m a girl that loves crappy TV, white wine, feeling sorry for myself and worrying about how the fuck I am gonna raise a kid on my own.” And I didn’t exactly have any other new hobbies.
MQD and I were sitting in the ultrasound office at UNC when a buzzer went off on his phone. “Panic tickets go on sale in an hour. Did you want to go to Raleigh? One night or two?” Maybe I am a simple girl, but I don’t think sweeter words were ever spoken. The kindness. The grace with which he has always encouraged me to hold on to who I am as he watched me struggle with becoming something new has always astounded me. A lesser man would not have tolerated or tried so hard to understand my growing pains. But he has held my hand every step of the way.
Sitting in a doctor’s office, waiting for a chance to see our baby on the screen I said “Just one night, Saturday. There’s no way I can do two night’s back to back pregnant.”
As September grew closer I had a nagging feeling that I was forgetting something. Em’s birthday approached and Jeremy and I were talking about when he might be coming to visit her. He’d be at the Panic shows in Raleigh, of course. It seemed to make sense that he’d just come up a few days early and spend some time with her first.
And it seemed to make sense that MQD actually drive all of us Saturday night. As the pregnant couple you can’t help but volunteer to be the designated driver.
And somehow it seemed to make sense that even though Em was spending the night at a friend’s house that we all just come back to MQD’s and my house after the show.
And that is how I ended up at a Panic show with my husband and my ex-husband on what would have been my ninth wedding anniversary. And somehow it all seemed to make sense.
It seemed only fitting that I got my favorite song….
Red hot mama was gettin’ down
Scoping the places where fun to be found
She was smokin’
Ride on, red hot mama
Girl, you sure look good to me
Red hot mama was really bad
She was badder than bad, bad as she want to be
Red hot mama was a real gas
Doin’ it good and doing it fast
She was smokin’
As always, words can not express my gratitude, Mike. Every day you make everything make sense, even things that make no sense at all, like SCIENCE and FACTS. All of it, the whole messy journey brought me here to you. I love you. ~Kel