that one time Brian McKnight made me cry

[This story was a tad too long to fit into our ticket stub diary… which coincidentally was the only *successful* gift I gave John that wasn’t ‘from the wishlist’.  It’ll make more sense after you read this post.]

Every Christmas my husband makes his ‘wishlist’ with explicit instructions that prospective gift givers are advised to ‘stick with the list.’  We all make fun of him for it, but after almost seven years of marriage, I can admit that it is actually very important to stick to the list.  I always think I can buy him a great gift that’s not on the list. I tell him each time that THIS time I’ve done it. I get so excited to give him the surprise item and inevitably it’s a flop. But THIS Christmas I thought I did it… for sure. No doubt.

We hadn’t been on a date in forever because we were too busy and then I was too pregnant and now we have a baby who is too little. I knew a date night would be the perfect gift. So I arranged for my mom to babysit when she would be in town for Jill’s baptism and looked for concerts or comedians or tickets for anything that sounded fun. I saw that Brian McKnight was coming to town on Valentines Day. We had seen him before and it was a great show. Bingo.

I bought the tickets about 3 months beforehand. And during those 3 months I had more than one moment when I was exhausted, covered in spit up, stepping on toddler toys with Daniel Tiger songs stuck in my head AGAIN… and in those moments I visualized the concert tickets and told myself: It’s ok. On February 14th, I will get to be an adult. I will get dressed up and maybe even put on makeup [gasp!].  I will have a night out with my husband.

After months of anticipation, Feb 14th came.  We left the kids with the grandparents and jumped in the car. About a mile away from the venue I knew something was wrong. Cars & brake lights & lines & people walking from really long distances. Something wasn’t right.

We drove around for an hour. AN HOUR. And never found a parking spot. I called the box office and asked for help. They told me there was nothing they could do [even though their website says they have “ample” parking!!!] and encouraged me to get a refund from ticketmaster [yeah, because they totally do that].

We gave up. As the lights faded behind us, I tried so hard to hold in my tears, but I broke. Yes, over Brian McKnight. I cried the ugly tears.  John looked at me, shocked [I’m not a very emotional person] and said ‘Woah. What’s wrong?’

I…. I just…. I just really was looking forward to this. To a night out. I just… I just needed a night to be an adult…. It’s just… It’s just so hard to always, always be taking care of someone.

It wasn’t pretty. My mascara ran [yes! I was wearing makeup!]. But I’m actually glad it happened.

It made me realize how absolutely crucial it is to take a break. How important it is to get a moment away from the kids to refresh… mentally. And that we must find a way to make a date night happen more often.

So, Brian McKnight, I thank you for turning me into a sobbing mess. I thank you for showing me that I need to focus a little more on my own sanity. And I thank you for finally convincing me that I should stick to the wishlist when I buy John gifts. But if you could refund my concert tickets for a show WE NEVER SAW that would be awesome. OK?

[For what it’s worth:  I didn’t write this post to garner sympathy, but simply to show that even though I post a lot of really pretty pictures, my life isn’t always pretty.]

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