I have a “t-shirt” that I adore. My husband would laugh at the use of the word “t-shirt” (which is why I am lovingly surrounding it with quotes) because it is better described as a thin willowy patch of material that vaguely resembles a shirt and which must be handled with care so as not to have it float out the window in a sprinkling of t-shirt dust. I’ve worn it for 23 years. I’ll tell you why.
It was 1989. The Rolling Stones were doing their North American Tour. I was 17. My mom and I decided to take a road trip to St. Louis to see them play at the old Busch Stadium. Or, more accurately I suppose, she came up with the idea, and I thought there couldn’t possibly be anything better.
The concert was on a Sunday night. We made a weekend out of it, visiting a friend of mom’s and doing some shopping at the local mall (where I selected a matching denim skirt and jacket, both lined with fringe. I know, you don’t have to say it—I was cool. I even have the senior picture to prove it. Try hard not to be jealous). The concert was as spectacular as you would expect a Rolling Stones concert to be 23 years ago, and I got a concert t-shirt to remember the experience. We drove home afterward – a four hour trip – arriving in the wee hours of the morning. After a few hours of sleep, with my ears still echoing the sounds of the concert, I was at school the next morning, proudly sporting my fringe denim and loving my mom something fierce.
And so, while the fringe denim has long since been discarded (sadly, I know), for 23 years I’ve worn the concert t-shirt and thought about that crazy brilliant decision by my mom to take her teenage daughter on a weekend adventure, as well as countless other moments where she said YES and took me along for the ride – whether it was staying up late to catch a shooting star, sitting out on the screened-in porch to watch an approaching thunder storm, sending me off to ring neighbors’ doorbells, arms overflowing with May Day flowers, or exploring the Wild West armed only with a rental car and a cooler full of baloney and wonder bread.
As a mom myself now, I hope I have the good sense to know a “t-shirt” moment when I see one, and I hope I remember to say YES. Because it’s never the big things, is it? Okay, that’s actually a total lie – it is the big things. But it’s the small things too. Those “t-shirt” moments will take your breath away; I mean they can truly knock your socks off.
As Joseph Campbell said, “The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure.”
What can you say YES to?
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.