Okay, I'll just come right out with it, and hope I don't lose readers. I like boy bands. I have Hanson and One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer songs on my running playlists. Their breezy pop tunes just make me happy, and their saccharine smiles are so sweet. One of the best times I had with my daughter (age 14) was when I called her out sick from school last August, and we spent the weekend in Chicago with another mom and three of her besties to see One Direction. While I didn't go into a helpless comatose state when Zayn left the band, I do wonder how long they will stay together. Someday soon, I fear, they will break up for good and attempt to have solo careers that will also fizzle. They will grow up, and at least one will end up on celebrity rehab, and my daughter will have to find new posters for her room...
But I digress. In my mind, I hear my 18-year-old self mocking me. "You're so lame, old lady. How did *I* turn into a boy-band loving, suburban-dwelling, cardigan-wearing, minivan-driving meal-planning, boring mom who likes BOY BANDS and young adult books? I was SO COOL and you ruined EVERYTHING."
I really was cool then, with my long, tangled hair, thrift shop clothes, Doc Martens, and red lipstick. And I was so tiny - I remember when I could wear fishnet stockings and a tube top for a skirt and not hear people whisper "eye pollution" under their breath when I walked by. My most loved "boy bands" were the Red Hot Chili Peppers (a high water mark of my college career was touching Anthony Kiedis' foot while pogo-ing in a mosh pit at one of their concerts), AD/DC (I once camped out overnight on top of Market Square Arena in the days of carnival seating to get right up by the stage for their concert), INXS (RIP, MIchael Hutchence), and The Cure. Oh, and Duran Duran, of course. I felt edgy and hardcore.
So what happened? Why do I find myself on the morning of a 5 Seconds of Summer concert, which I am attending with daughter, mom friend, and a scrum of teenage pals, kind of excited, even though we have lawn seats and it's hard to haul my old self up and down off the ground? I think part of it is trying to recapture the "cool girl" I used to be (and still think I am in some of my moments of insanity), but it's mostly the joy I see on my own daughter's face as she screams along with the lyrics and takes part in something bigger than herself as she looks around and sees thousands of other girls doing the same thing.
Or maybe, I just lost my taste in music along the way, along with toned thighs and a waistline. I'm sorry, 18-year-old self, that I have let you down. But I'm thankful for the memories.
Courtney is a most fabulous writer and teacher of gifted middle school students. She is the author of two novels - see the "Cate Books" page of this site for information! Watch for updates about future books that need to be part of your personal library. In the meanwhile, enjoy her pithy life observations.