At 3 am on a Saturday night I drunkenly crept behind the front desk of a hotel in Nashville so I could steal the key to the swimming pool.
The desk clerk, after answering a call about drunken revelry on the 5th floor, had left the front desk to investigate.
This was a distraction created, in fact, by MY friends. I was partying with a rock band and their entourage. Despite the 40 degree weather, several people decided that it would be fun to go swimming.
That was after the bicycle riding up and down hallways, rampant running through the hotel, whipped cream fights, clandestine couplings in darkened hallway corners, smashed furniture, hours of impromptu jamming, wickedly incriminating photos posted on Facebook, and all manner of depravity one would have with a crazy-ass rock band in Nashville, Tennessee.
Saturday afternoon we started bar hopping on Printer’s Alley, an area renowned for its excessive alcoholic roguery. Nashville has as many drunken people as New Orleans during Mardi Gras, and not for any particular reason. It’s not Mardi Gras, or foie gras, or any-gras. It’s Tues-gras. So turn up, motherfuckers!
I was drunk by 1:00 in the afternoon, and I don’t drink.
That’s the kind of thing that happens when I party with C, my best friend, former college roommate and card-carrying wild child.
She’s been trouble since freshman year of college, when I tried to match her, drink for drink, one wintry night first semester. Seventeen cocktails later, I landed in the emergency room getting my stomach pumped.
She loves to tell story. She told it several times in Nashville, to just about anyone who would listen.
She had her domestic time. That was while I was running around New York city, doing drugs and guitar players. But we’ve switched places, and now she’s a divorced empty nester. For the last few years, the hellraiser has been back to her old shenanigans.
She’s involved with a huge network of people who live and die for music, and travel the country to obscure 3-day festivals. I’ve seen some great shows with them locally. But I’ve resisted these 3-day, Bacchanalian festivals because I can’t drink like her. I also have a young child at home.
Some of her friends were planning a trip to Nashville Valentine’s weekend to see Lydia Loveless play. Three days before the trip, I decided to go.
I’m still not sure why.
I’ll have to explore that with my therapist.
Saturday night, already butt-toast blotto, we headed to The Mercy to see Lydia Loveless and her band. Lydia is a 24-year-old towering inferno of smoldering sexuality and “go fuck yourself.” Punk fueled, country rock driven, she’s the love child of Joan Jett and Johnny Cash.
She fucking ROCKED. She has an unbelievable stage presence and a powerful gritty voice that dances on your spine.
After the show, 15 of us, including the band, went back to the hotel. We partied until Bloody Mary time at 8 am. By 9 am the room looked like a battle field of depraved fallen soldiers, and C and I somehow got back to our own hotel.
We were scheduled to leave Nashville 5 am Monday morning. And then, it snowed. And it doesn’t snow in Nashville.
They are simply not equipped to handle the amount of snow and ice they received. The city was paralyzed. Airports shut down. HIghways shut down. Power shut down.
Our flights were cancelled. We rebooked them and set off in search of food. Our hotel was depleted of supplies since no deliveries were able to get in.
We ended up trudging through the ice and snow to a Holiday Inn two hotels away, where we parked our asses at the bar with all the other snowed in people. As one of the few functioning establishments, the bar got mobbed.
Frustrated with being trapped in Nashville, everyone at the bar proceeded to get schnockered sideways, except me. Three days of drinking, and I’d had enough. I was also the designated driver of this experience. C was fast becoming ridiculously inebriated as all the men at the bar tried to ply us with alcohol. She was having a grand old time.
I was not.
I missed my kid.
Little Dude lives with me full-time. I was not mentally prepared to be away from him more than a weekend. It took me completely by surprise to miss him that fiercely, when he generally annoys the fuck out of me.
The next couple of days turned into a nightmare of flights repeatedly booked and cancelled; highways shut down, no taxi service locally to get anywhere.
Tuesday afternoon we were hungry enough to trudge a mile and a half on the icy highway in high heeled boots to a Waffle House. We were warned by the hotel clerk that there were no sidewalks, just road.
I imagined the headlines:
“Two Women In Search of Waffles Killed by 4×4 in Nashville”
By Wednesday, I was LOSING it. My kid was upset when I didn’t return on Monday morning as promised. Now he had seen on the news about the state of emergency in Tennessee and was really worried.
He is also an ADHD kid who goes askew when his routines are strongly disrupted.
On Wednesday morning the Ex reminded me that testing for the middle school gifted program began on Thursday. Now my kid was really melting down that I wouldn’t be there for the testing.
He would not perform well on the test; not get into a highly coveted program he had talked about excitedly for months – all because I had to go to Nashville to party with a band.
I became part gladiator, part heat-seeking missile. I called my airline and demanded to speak to supervisors. I begged, pleaded, demanded-
JUST GET ME ON ANY AIRLINE, TO ANY AIRPORT, IN THE GODDAMNED MOTHERFUCKING TRI-STATE AREA.
I got booked on a flight that night scheduled to arrive at midnight.
At 2 am Thursday morning, I crept into my son’s room and just looked at him. I brushed his little sleep-flushed cheek and noticed again how his long, long eyelashes look like tiny butterfly wings.
Through adulthood I’ve held fast onto my identity as a quasi-Patti Smith who “lives outside society,” an identity that I altered but still maintained through motherhood.
But there are consequences to partying like a rock star when children are involved.
I would love to tell you that I am both devoted mother and wild child rock ‘n roller, and that I have successfully straddled the complex duality of this existence – but that would be a LIE.
I’m a MOM. It is my defining characteristic.
I’m my son’s only mother, and if I don’t get this right, I’ve accomplished nothing.
It doesn’t mean that my soul isn’t full of restless yearning; that the colorless mundane of suburbia doesn’t leave me unfulfilled in many ways.
I love my child more than life itself, but I’m too young to be buried alive in the suburbs.
I’m in limbo. Not fit for either the life I once lived, or the one I live now.
My son is 11. I have 7 years to give him the life he is entitled to. I will prepare him to be strong and independent, so when he leaves the nest, Mama can go back out into the world.
My story will not end here, in the drab suburban wasteland of New Jersey.
I’m looking forward to being a jacked up, wayward old cougar. And I will be grateful to have raised a responsible, mature son – who can bail me out of jail.
Just in case.
Yes you are, you gorgeous thing!!
HO. LEE. CHIC-KISS.
Dang you live life loud and hard. (she said hard) Part of me wants to hang out with you and part of me is terrified. haha You’re amazing, and I’m so glad you went on this trip and had a great/crazy time. Can’t believe you got stuck there! So happy you’re home now with your kiddo. You really will be that grandma on a motorcycle. I have no doubt. xo
I’m done. I’m officially retired from all skullduggery and tomfoolery until my son is 18.
Then I will come to Texas and you’d better be ready!!!
I will spend the next seven or eight years preparing myself for the day…..
Beth said hard.
She often does.
What if you just limit skullduggery and tomfoolery to the warm part of the year?
I live vicariously through you. *fistbump*
Not too loud with that fistbump.
I’m still hung over…
No more. Done.
(Until BlogHer in NYC???)
I loved this. I sort of feel like this is how my mom saw things, only instead of thinking I was important she was kind of bitter that she had me and her fun had to stop. I always swore to myself I’d never treat my kid that way, like they ruined my fun. My mom raised a wild child, but I won’t relive her mistakes.
Wow. That’s hard.
My kid didn’t ruin my life. He IS my life. He knows I’m different than I used to be, and that I miss parts of my old life. But he didn’t CHOOSE to be born. So I would never do that to him.
I’m so sorry your mom made you feel that way. Some people are just not cut out to be parents, I guess? I don’t know. But thank you for reading. xox
Oh wow…I was so glad when I read you GOT HOME…
So was I! And my kid was ecstatic when he woke up to find me home.
They really take up most of the space in our brains, don’t they? Our kids?
It sounds like an amazing weekend if the snow hadn’t happened. And I get it, in a lot of ways. (I mean, I’m no Patty Smith) But I’m not ready to give up all of my good times and shenanigans. It’s hard to walk that line and not go too far, to affecting our kids. I’ve had the guilt though. I’ve beat myself up and wondered if my good time is their future therapy. No matter what, I think you’re an amazing mama. We all beat ourselves up. We all are screwing up in some ways. Kids are resilient. And if they know that we love them more than life itself, I think that counteracts a lot of the other stuff.
It WAS an amazing weekend until the snow happened.
But should I have gone when I knew my son had three days of important testing the following week? Shouldn’t I have checked the goddamned weather?
I don’t know if I’m amazing. But yes, my kid knows He Is Loved. I suppose that’s the most important thing, right?
Thank you for reading, love.
(Um. Patti spells her name with an “i.” Please don’t think I’m a dick. xoxo)
I’m glad you got back to the safe nest for the Little Dude, Samara. I’m sending down the Syracuse vibes for him to get into that program he and you want for him so badly.
Your ex was back in the house? Really? After all that crap?
The first half of your story … you know how I love your spirit and what makes you you … here’s the but, but … You have me worried. Slow down some. Please. Or you won’t make those seven years. You’re freaking awesome, but you’re mortal. Dig?
I hope he gets in too, Mark. Thanks!
NO MY EX IS NOT BACK IN THE HOUSE EWW.
He was there watching my kid when I got stuck. I live down the block from the school, so it was more convenient.
I HAVE slowed down. Didn’t anyone read the end? Lesson learned. I promise, Mark. Thank you for caring about me the way you do. You’re awesome. xoxo
I did read the end, Samara. I also read the beginning!
I love the way you look out for me. It’s very sweet. It’s also kinda hot.
You bet it is. Whew.
I was suffering with you when you got stuck in Nashville! I am glad you got home with your little guy. How did the testing go btw? 🙂
So often I feel like I cannot be my true self when around the kids. I have to tame my wildness and be kind of…boring. Blah. If I do act silly or a bit wild my kids are horrified and say, “Mom, you are so weird!” I am weird and I love it! 🙂 🙂
My kid is used to me being weird and different in a fun way. Thank goodness. Not in a “let’s go shoplifting” way, more like in a “I dress like a teenager” way. 🙂
I think the testing went well. I’ll know more in a couple of months. Fingers crossed!
This SO makes me wanna cheer you on. You did good – shit happens and kids have to be prepared for that. In a perfect world you’d have been home when you said; but the world is not perfect and we are humans – NOT robots. 😉
Thanks for making me feel better! I felt like such a shitty mom!
And thanks for reading, and commenting. You’re awesome!
Trust me; I’ve been there. We may be around the same age but I was a new mom in my 20s, when we’re supposed to be dancing and drinking all night til the sun comes up. There was a night spent out with friends from work that dropped my staggering ass home when I was supposed to be getting my son ready for school. I had to duck into the laundry room & wait for my husband to leave with our kid since I didn’t want kiddo to see an ugly confrontation. I felt like a horrible mom that day.
I just love this, because it shows how parents strive for balance. Granted, there are a lot more mommy moments than ones like this story, but it is a balancing act. You’re right, you owe him the best of yourself, but you’re right, you owe it to yourself to have a damn good not-so-mommy time too!
I tire of society’s idealized version of what’s best for our children. It sounds so pompous. Unstructured time is important for all humans! 🙂
You know what else? A good mommy is a happy mommy. Not that I need to go trolloping all over the country with rock bands. But a fun night out, locally, once in a while is good for the soul.
Thanks so much for reading, and commenting. I’m so grateful that you do. xox
Great tale. ..I’m glad you got home to your little one okay.
Thank you so much for reading,and commenting! I appreciate that you do. And I’m so glad I got home to him, too. Even though, we’re snowed in today and he’s annoying the beejeesus out of me…
You so perfectly nailed what I’ve gone through too, post on-the-road-band-life, now in suburban NJ lingo. And I came to the same conclusion despite a couple of nasty bouts of restlessness over the mundane. And I think Patti herself said something about belonging to your kids until they’re older; giving yourself to them while they’re growing up, because they deserve your attention and care.
Of course YOU get it!
But Patti was still disciplined enough to maintain some sense of her artistry. When she was raising her kids, she woke up to write every single morning at 5 am.
I SAY I’m going to do that. I just never do. *sigh*
Thanks for reading, Linda!
I think that you’re awesome. No pretense, just you. And it seems to me that you’re probably a pretty fabulous mom. We all do stuff as parents that we feel guilty about, but with my kids, it turned out that I pissed them off about stuff that I didn’t even recognize as a problem, not the stuff that I’d agonized about. There’s no way to be the perfect parent, just the best one you can be, and I think you’re probably pretty good. 🙂
Oh GAWD, I don’t even want to think about the stuff I DON’T know I’m doing wrong!
Yep, I’m a pretty decent mom. I try, anyway, and like you said, that’s the most important thing.
**I’m a MOM. It seeps out of every pore. It is my defining characteristic.**
Samara, I find you fascinating, interesting, & I love the sentence above…I love the idea that you can be a wild child, but understand the vital, important things in life.
xx kiss from MN.
My son is the most important thing in my life. His needs eclipse mine.
BUT- just wait til he’s in college…
Thank you Kim, xoxo
This was great post! Wild and tender, seems like extremes well lived 🙂 Children do that, bring you home and keep you there. Hopefully you will ahve the same energy later in life to enjoy yourself. Then again… you never know 🙂 Thanks, enjoyed reading
I don’t have that energy NOW hahaha
We’ll see. I don’t have to party like a rock star. I’d be content just to get my ass out of the mind-numbing suburbs.
Thanks for reading!
Been trapped by snow once. Once is enough.
Only once? And you live in Canada?
I didn’t even mention, because the post was too long, that intense, loud, in-your-face argument Lydia started with a Canadian woman over how much she hates Canada! That was a little too intense for a hotel room full of drunken people.
I think we talked about it when you were still trapped there. Oh, I’ve been snowed in a bunch, but only once was I stranded at an airport because of snow.
I dislike airports. Being stranded in one would feel like I’m living a scene out of “The Terminal,” only without adorable Tom Hanks to make it bearable.
Come to think of it, it was at the Newark Airport… damn Jersey!
Jersey sucks balls.
That is all.
Holy fudge… Now that’s how you party giggle love you thing 2
Thing 1! Thank you for visiting my blog!
No- that’s how you die of liver failure, unless you’re Keith Richards and get your blood cleansed at a clinic in Switzerland!
I love you thing 2 just haven’t been able to get on wp lately
I’m surprised and honored you took the time, babe! You have a LOT going on. Love you.
Awww sweetie your stuff makes me smile of course I’d love to read it
You’re a woman of “Twin Peaks” (and I don’t mean your breasts. Well, mostly…) and Waffle House. It’s no wonder we get along so well, and why it’s probably best we never met when we were both simultaneously single and childless. Your tug-o-war between rock-n-roll life and motherhood is both endearing and sexy. Cheers to that, and you, Samara 😉
That’s about the nicest thing anyone’s said to me- endearing and sexy!
I usually get “snarky” and “bitch”…
I’d like to imagine an alternate universe in which Ned and Samara meet, pre spouse and children, and see what that looks like…
Just think of how good you’ll look as a Cougar with all the sleep you’ll be getting. I think partying like a rock star can age a person fast. Anothef lovely, funny, and insightful post.
And THAT is why God invented plastic surgery!
Thanks for stopping by. How’s things in your neck of the woods? It’s snowing here.
Things good. I just booked a trip to Vegas. A have dear sweet friend who has Down Syndrome is starting to get Alzheimer’s and one of his life long dreams is to go to Las Vegas. So my wife and I are taking him. It will be bittersweet.
You’re a really good person. One of the best. I mean that. I’m actually honored that you read my blog.
Geez, I’m fifty shades of blushing over here.
Winter is really giving it to guys. Prison style. No lube.
That’s EXACTLY right. Yikes.
Please consider this “more than a like” but less than my typical long-winded boring comment. Always a fan…
I’m just happy you’re here. Comment, don’t, whatever makes you happy.
I’m always grateful for you reading. Xo
Ahhhhhhh but you tell it so WELL, Precious. Full-on HD, surround-sound. You have that talent 🙂 Thank you for allowing a vicarious trip into rock-and-roll, which I’m pretty sure I’ll never have In Real.
And my favourite part? That bit, right in the middle, where you wrote your heart – “I’m my son’s only mother, and if I don’t get this right, I’ve accomplished nothing.”
They will be seven glorious years of fuckups and pure gold, and everything in between. And I suspect that when they’re up, you’ll find that he hijacks your heart for a whole lot longer, and good 🙂
You probably know, more than any of my “online” friends, that my kid is my heart. I guess that’s just biology.
I’m glad you came along for the vicarious ride. Vicarious is better for your liver. Mine still hasn’t forgiven me.
Yes, even in college, my son will still have my heart. He just may have to deal with coming home to New York City for holidays, instead of the suburbs. He’ll live. xoxo
It’s hard when your head’s writing cheques your body can’t cash but you’re nothing if not tenacious, not to mention down right delicious. I know I’ve neglected things a bit of late but I still intend to somehow squeeze at least one more party into your next 7 years…
Righto, got it…
How did I miss this fecking comment???
RED, love, I’m snowed in, in New Jersey. It sucks.
Yes, someday we will party together! I don’t know if it will be in the States, or Australia, but yes we shall!
What is happening in your neck of the woods?
I’ve been on the road trying to find myself again, I just know I’m out there somewhere. I’m sorry you missed my comment too, I started worrying that you’d written me off…sort of tells you where I’m at right now I guess…sorry for thinking you might. I’m riding Route 66 with Queenie Sept next year with the idea of catching up with some people before and after, so you never know about that next party!
I would never write you off in a million years, my REDdog friend. Ever.
I so badly wanna party like a rock star with you. 14 years of sleep deprivation may have knocked me off my game a bit…but I’m not dead yet either.
But Donna, I don’t really party like that! However, I’ll make an exception for you.
I see a little road trip in our future. Atlantic City?
That’s the dream, to have a kid to bail you out.
Well, that WAS the dream. I’m too old, too tired just now.
I’ll have to live vicariously through THIS post, and wait the 7 years for future posts. If you post them past 8:00pm, I’ll have to read them the next day because *yawn* I have Sudden Onset Elderly Syndrome. Which I feared most of my life, but is much easier for me to handle than trying to figure out WHO I can call for bail and a ride from the police station, because my son’s dad is watching HIM so I can’t call him. Ugh. I feel your pain to some extent, sister. I am actually grateful for my tiredness, it keeps me out of trouble like few things have been able to ever.
You don’t have to stop partying, just do it at home or discover the beauty of Street Fairs, where they play music, serve beer in plastic cups and are filled with families. No worries, your son will be able to be your designated driver in 5 more years 🙂
The funny thing is, my best friends son IS her designated driver. He’s 19, and they went to see a concert together.
She got ridiculously drunk with the band. He told me when they got home, she was so drunk she peed in a hamper in her closet because she thought she was sitting on the toilet!
Can you imagine your CHILD having THAT on you?
The rules changed for you. Didn’t you know? Of course you missed him. Those biological threads are powerful. You can pull and stretch them–all they way to Nashville, in fact–but they’ll never break.
I misread “bestie” as “beastie.” Calling Dr. Freud.
I’m sure she’s a doll but spending three days with musical elitists who value critical acclaim and look down their noses at anything popular sounds like insufferable torment to me. That seems contrary to your nature. My Bride and I are dying to visit Nashville. I’ve heard it’s a ocean of good food and music. What else do you want?!
Nashville has incredible music- no cover charge- everywhere! The food was not to my liking. I’m not into fried catfish and barbecue. But there are really cool attractions as well. Go!
It’s not that these folks look down their noses at popular music. More like, they’re into supporting struggling, talented, musicians.
They like some popular stuff. 100 of them went to see The Replacements in Minnesota. Would they be considered popular?
Yes. The rules HAVE changed. Lesson learned. I’m getting new ink- “more than life itself” to punctuate the lesson.
Skullduggery and tomfoolery have a mind of their own and sometimes they bamboozle us into thinking they have gone away for a while and things happen…or so I once heard.
It’s funny that you used the word “bamboozle.”
My bestie and I actually went to Bambooze 2 years ago when it was here, in New Jersey. My liver is still paying for THAT one, too.
Thanks for reading.
I look forward to reading your blogs because I can relate on soooo many levels. I too struggle with finding my place. I just Don’t fit in nor want to with the lulu lemon wearing, latte drinking, suburban, gossiping soccer moms but my love for my children drives me to at least get over the it’s all about me state even just temporarily so these kids have a chance. Thanks for sharing your honest and insightful blogs
you NAILED it! “lulu lemon wearing, latte drinking” hahahahaha
I wish you lived closer. We’d hang.
Thanks for reading!
No kidding! We would definitely hang! For now, I will live my adventures vicariously through blogging!
Just wow, Samara. I hate the way snow messes up schedules, plans, and other important things. I want to go where it’s warm.
Let’s do it. I see a road trip in my future…
I love reading your stories.
I’m so grateful that you do, Tamara! Thank you.
I was watching your Facebook updates, wondering if you would be buried forever under snowdrifts and ice in Nashville. I was never hanging out with rock bands (at least, not often), but when I was in radio and with The Loser, it was all about sex, drugs, and rock & roll. It started to make me feel icky after a while and I don’t regret leaving that life behind. But I wish I had done it sooner – both of my older girls grew up way too fast because they felt like they had to take care of me. I regret that.
I kind of want to know about you and the sex, drugs and rock and roll. Have you blogged about it?
I have a few posts about that time — most of the drugs were when I was with The Loser. He was very much into that whole scene — and the sex scene. He screwed a 16-year-old groupie and that was the death knell for our marriage.
Oh, NICE! Was he aware that that constitutes statutory rape, or was he above the law?
I feel exhausted, drunk, and fucked up after reading this. But what a fun ride it was- I can’t imagine LIVING IT.
I hear the fears about being buried as an adult. Maybe that’s why we write?
That’s part of why I write. I feel the need to do something apart from the drudgery of work, home, child, etc. I missed out on being a rock star.
I sometimes go all out and write really crazy fun bizarre stuff, too. Just to push the envelope. Stay tuned; my next post will be like that.
Thanks for reading, for commenting, and for mentioning me in your blog post. You’re awesome!
I love this. I just kept thinking, she is formidable. Which might not be a word much used to describe your saucy, sexy, badass self. But you just go after it. You are all in. And I love how you are “all in” when it comes to loving your Little Dude.
Awesome story, so well written, and boundless love for your kid I can totally get behind.
I AM all in, Jen. It screws me up sometimes. Hard to explain.
Boundless love – that’s a great way to describe it. Why else would be put our own lives on hold for 18 plus years? I guess, that’s the circle of life. Thanks for reading, and for always being there. xoxo
This post felt like I was watching a movie. Specifically, sort of like role-reversed Almost Famous (I just saw it for the first time last month) – where the kid stayed home and the mom went to party with the rockers.
Ooh, I LOVED that movie!
I like the idea of the role reversal movie version of it. You write it, and I’ll star in it.
So did I. But I think you’re way more qualified to write this – you know all this stuff already – the parties, the mother stuff, etc.
Actually, add a dollop of erotica and make it a best-selling novel.
Make it a young hot male rockstar, or better yet, two, vying for your affection – wait, one male and another female (a mix of Rebecca and Linda)! A son at home, having an ex stay with him – the conflicts just write themselves!
I see a Pulitzer potential here.
I was never a SUPER wild child, but I did things that would make others blush. I’ve definitely toned my life down – and probably a great deal of it is because of Brian. He keeps me grounded enough to be responsible, but lets me fly when I need to fly.
You’re amazing, and Little Dude is lucky to have you, girlfriend. Even with the occasional misstep – we’ve all been there.
Also, following this story on Facebook totally made me think of Home Alone. I was picturing Little Dude in a sweater buying a whole cheese pizza all for himself.
Chrissy, you’re awesome! It’s funny what you said about Little Dude and Home Alone. When he was five, he woke up before me and, after watching Home Alone, booby trapped the stairs. When I woke up I stepped and rolled and tripped my way down the stair case!!
Thanks for reading, cutie!