I’m probably not winning any Christian parenting awards. This year my husband, Alex, and I skipped Easter and flew to Vegas to see Aerosmith. In my defense, it was an accident. Half a year ago when I was booking the tickets, I deliberately avoided spring break and my son’s birthday but I didn’t realize Easter was so late this year and accidentally booked a trip to Sin City on Easter. Why does that holiday have to move around so much?
We celebrated on Saturday with church and an egg hunt, then early Sunday, we whispered “He is risen/He is risen indeed” as my dad came over to watch the kids and we snuck out of the house at 6 a.m. By 9 a.m., we were drinking mimosas at altitude.
Growing up, I wasn’t allowed to listen to “secular” music, and right about the time my parents gave up, the Pump album came out and I wanted “What it Takes” for “Love in an Elevator.” I fell hard for Aerosmith and Steven Tyler’s gigundous mouth. Here I am, 30 years later, skipping Easter for a concert so maybe my parents were right. But even though “Janie’s Got a Gun” I feel “F.I.N.E.”
I started high school when Get a Grip came out. MTV was blocked at our house, but I saw that Alicia Silverstone video for “Cryin’” at a friend’s and felt “Crazy” like I was “Livin’ on the Edge.” When she bungeed off that bridge and flipped that boy the bird, something pulsed deep inside my rule-following soul. I flipped off the boy, the rules, and the weight of all my teenaged angst.
About a decade later I was living in D.C. hopped up on hormone drugs trying to get pregnant and infertility made me start questioning everything. If my girl parts didn’t even work right was I even a woman? In the middle of the worst identity crisis of my life, I blared Aerosmith once again and sang it loudly. My body was trashed and worthless, unable to make a baby. Why was I even here? What was I even for? I closed my eyes, clenched my fists, and mustered up the “Sweet Emotion” to “Dream On.” When I felt like a “Rag Doll” they made me feel like an “Angel.”
My road to children ended up looking different than I thought it would, but after 12 years of building my family through needles and court rooms, I made it to “The Other Side” with three kids and “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” Except for when I desperately need to miss a few things and run out of the house screaming. Sometimes “Mama Kin” needs a break before she gets “Jaded.”
These days, my Aerosmith love is going “Crazy” strong, so when I heard they were doing a residency in Las Vegas for their fiftieth anniversary, I knew I had to go. I love adventures with Alex and thankfully when I told him I had to go to this concert, he was like, “Walk This Way.”
Alex and I are celebrating 19 years of marriage, which compared to Aerosmith’s 50 doesn’t feel like such a huge accomplishment. The longer we’re together and the more intense the parenting becomes the more we need to get away and make memories together. “Dude,” I’ll remember this night forever.
Not only was the concert on Easter, but it was on the first night of Infertility Awareness Week. Infertility? Oh I’m aware. The timing was weird but also kind of perfect, seeing the band that helped me through infertility on a day dedicated to both infertility and resurrection. From pubescent preteen to angsty high schooler to infertile young bride to middle-aged mother of three, I drew courage from Aerosmith’s music to belt through life’s challenges.
When we arrived at the venue and looked around I thought, “Everyone here is old,” and then I realized ruefully that we’re old. I still can’t quite believe I’m on “The Other Side” of 40. You know who’s not old? Steven Tyler, who’s 71 and can hit all the high notes effortlessly. Steven Tyler is still shredded, Joe Perry is still gorgeous, and they sound as awesome as ever. Clearly they are unicorns. Maybe doing a bunch of drugs early in life is the secret to longevity and we’ve been at this all wrong. Why am I eating salads and going to yoga?
Before the concert started, we made small talk with the strangers around us with whom we’d be whooping and screaming later. We exchanged concert pleasantries, “What’s your name, where are you from, what’s your favorite Aerosmith song?”
“Cryin’,” I admitted, “but I know they won’t play it tonight.” They have so many hits, so going into it, I prepared myself that there was no way. There were just too many songs and only one night.
About halfway through an already incredible performance, I heard the familiar lyrics, “There was a time/When I was so brokenhearted …” I screamed with a mixture of excitement and recognition. When I was brokenhearted, Aerosmith helped me through. That song has come to mean different things for different stages of my life. The video of Alicia Silverstone played on the screens behind the band and when she bungeed off that bridge, I felt it all over again, freefalling with her, older, wiser, and more scarred, and this time I flipped off infertility.