Last weekend my younger brother Andrew (left) was in town. He bought my older brother Ian (centre) and me tickets to see one of his favourite bands from university days -- The Spoons.
My kids couldn't believe it when I announced that I was going to see a live band. I never do anything cool and I never stay out late.
Off we went to The Revival Bar in a trendy part of Toronto's little Italy: I'm 48, my younger brother is 45 and Ian is 51. We could hardly be called hipsters. It was Friday night and I was in my usual end-of-week stress state (when worries about my son with disabilities tend to blossom).
The Revival was a massive hall where the sold-out crowd stood shoulder to shoulder. We got there early and snagged the only table in the room (see above).
I couldn't remember the Spoons, who were big in Canada in the 80s, and one of my daughters says I can't dance. So I had doubts about how things were going to go.
Two hours later the place was packed. I was pressed up against our lone table, bopping up and down on the spot, so as not to knock the women behind us: they'd clambered up on the built-in bench we were sitting on to dance. The room was electric with diehard Spoons fans -- about the same age as us or older.
The band was brilliant. The lead singer rocked. I remembered many songs. I felt young again, like I was back at university, watching a band at the pub. I sipped my brother's rum and coke -- "I haven't had one of those for years," I said. The thoughts and worries that had ruled my mind dissipated. I clapped, I screamed, I hollered till my throat hurt. My older brother removed his hearing aid and put in an ear plug, while my younger brother placed his hands over his ears.
I was part of the deafening noise that brought the band back for an encore.
My brothers dropped me off at home, buoyant.
My first thought wasn't -- "I'm so exhausted, I must get some sleep" -- but "Let's look up The Spoons online" and "Wait till my kids hear that I made it past midnight!" I grabbed a big chocolate bar from one of my daughter's fundraising boxes and settled in at the computer.
I was surprised at how relaxed I felt, how refreshed. I remembered Donna Thomson, author of The Four Walls of My Freedom, talking about the value of dance for relieving stress. She told me she takes a Zumba class most days for that reason.
I've never had a good answer when other parents of kids with disabilities ask me what I do for stress. Now I have one.
I made a mental note: I must do this again. Soon.