I am going to get a little Sophia Petrillo on you.
Picture it: Billerica, Massachusetts. 1989. Or 1990 depending on which half of the school year it was.
A young girl sits in her fifth grade class at Eugene C. Vining Elementary School. Her female classmates have a whole bunch of boy band paraphernalia on their desk, including those large pins that you could stand up. Like a picture frame. Her male classmates would snicker and lodge pencils at these large picture pins, trying to knock them down.
This girl thought the boy band was stupid. That girl was me and that band was New Kids on the Block.
I wanted nothing to do with them. I wanted nothing to do with those large stand up pins, or the t-shirts, or the plastic water bottles or the bed sheets.
My mother, who was a Beatles fan back in the day, encouraged me to like them but I wouldn’t give in. In fact, that might have fed into my resolve not to like them. (Sorry Mom!)
So I have no stories about going to their concerts when I was a middle schooler. Because I just didn’t care. I have always had a streak in me that didn’t want to do what was popular. To this day, I have never read a Harry Potter book or seen a Harry Potter movie. So leave it me to be 25 years late for the New Kids Party. But better late than never, right?
My friend had won tickets and four of us went. We were so excited. We had dinner and margaritas at El Miriachi before the show.
Oh no! I admit, I was more excited about seeing Boyz II Men than I was about New Kids but I wasn’t going to let it ruin a great night.
My friend and I joked that Bryon was behind it. Bryon liked Boyz II Men though I wasn’t allowed to talk about it when he was alive. He was embarrassed. Though when we were planning my daughters Baptism, he made me watch the scenes from the Fresh Prince of Bel-air with Nicky’s Christening.
Our daughters Christening was the Sunday of Epiphany and Bryon said it would be cool to get Boyz II Men to come. I didn’t put any more thought into it until a few days later when Bryon says that Boyz II Men won’t be playing at our daughters Christening because they were not in our budget. Leave it to him to actually look into it.
So my friend was saying that because Bryon couldn’t see them, then none of us could.
We will have to catch them next time.
My daughter’s Godmother and I were talking about how my daughter will like some band that doesn’t exist yet and she won’t want to go with us. Because we will embarrass her. Her Godmother’s stepdaughter will probably take her.
And one life lesson: don’t spend too much time on social media during the concert. You might miss the dancer that rips off his shirt. True story.
In the past, I didn’t enjoy my life fully. I never lived in the moment. I was always worried about other things all the time. So I made sure to really just embrace being at the concert with my friends. There may have been some adult beverages.
But being a widow always has some level of sadness. It shows up even at the happiest times. Even though Bryon wouldn’t have gone to this concert if he were alive, I did miss him. I missed the fact that he would have been making fun of me. I missed the fact that I didn’t have him to come home to. I came home all excited and he wasn’t here to listen to my stories.
There is also some level of guilt. Guilt that I am having fun without him. Guilt that I am here to enjoy events like this and he is not.
I carry close to my heart the fact that Bryon embraced life. He didn’t hold back. And when he was in the ICU for five months, he fought. He fought even though he would likely have permanent damage to his body. He wanted to live. So I must continue to live my life fully. I owe it to him.