Tuesday adventures: Mommy Day #5 and Mary Chapin Carpenter

One of the themes of my next book is how to make life feel more sustainable and joyful on an average Tuesday. Yesterday was something, but not really an average Tuesday!

In the morning I wound up doing Mommy Day #5. Every summer I do one-on-one days with my older kids. The youngest (whoever that happens to be) tends to get a fair amount of attention just by virtue of being little and needing a lot of care. So I don’t necessarily start doing official Mommy Days until age 4 or so. But I do remember in the summer of 2017 taking my then-2-year-old to the Shedd Aquarium solo, and him enjoying it. And sure enough, I did a Mommy Day of sorts with my current 2-year-old too.

We went to Sesame Place, which is only about 45 minutes from my house. We went on various rides — he wanted to try the roller coaster, but you had to be 3 years old or 44 inches! He did like the swings and the teacups (ugh). I think eventually he found it all overwhelming and hot, but he was revived by an Elmo cupcake and an Abby bubble-maker. We left around 1 p.m. and he slept in the car.

I did a little bit of work before leaving at 5 p.m. with my husband and older two boys for Longwood Gardens to see the Mary Chapin Carpenter concert there. I’d gotten tickets for this back in March, and so it had been an obvious entry for my Summer Fun List.

I was slightly concerned it wouldn’t happen. We’ve had two weeks of basically no rain, and then it started storming right around 6:30 p.m. for a 7 p.m. outdoor concert. They delayed it for an hour — during which we got dinner, and walked around the lovely conservatory seeing orchids and such — but then the weather completely cleared up and the night was absolutely perfect.

Carpenter put on a wonderful show. I appreciated that she mostly played her greatest hits. I get that as an artist doing shows every night you might want to play new stuff, or your favorite pieces that you feel didn’t get enough attention…but your fans aren’t there every night and they want to hear their favorites. So that is what she gave us. Her one perhaps-not-as-well-known piece she played was the exact one I wanted her to play! She wrote “Halley Came to Jackson” about a scene from Eudora Welty’s childhood, when her father held her up to the window to see Halley’s comet in 1910, with a supposed wish that she might see it again. And in 1986, from that same front porch, she did. This song gets me every time, the scene of a parent wishing a long and full life for a child, and that blessing coming true.

I also really appreciated her band’s abilities. The piano player was just having the time of his life on the piano solo during “I Feel Lucky” (which isn’t my favorite song, but the piano interlude does sell it for me). And the fiddler on Halley Came to Jackson! Very evocative of a southern summer porch.

Anyway, quite the day. I am rounding toward the end of my Summer Fun List so I’ll post an update on that soon! In the meantime, happy end of August. On Friday the morning low will be in the 50s. The weather is changing. It was good to be outside listening to music, trying to hold onto the present even while watching summer fade into fall.

Photo: From the Longwood conservatory. Kind of fitting for the feeling of seasons blending into each other…

7 thoughts on “Tuesday adventures: Mommy Day #5 and Mary Chapin Carpenter

  1. The evening concert experience sounds lovely!
    It’s nice to have something that has been planned for so long meet (or exceed!) expectations.

    I am also sometimes revived by a cupcake…

    1. @Elisabeth – since I stopped eating dairy I definitely miss buttercream frosting really high-end cupcakes… (The elmo one was not particularly high end, so I was less tempted)

  2. We signed up in early 2021 for tickets to two athletics sessions at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on 6th August 2022! We thought Covid would be long gone by then of course. But one after another this summer the family got Covid, was quite ill, but recovered. It was touch and go until about 4th August but finally we decided we were all well enough for what would be a very long day in what turned out to be pretty hot weather. All my plans to rent a private parking space, stay at a hotel overnight afterwards, one daughter and her boyfriend come on the train from where they now live (not a thing in early 2021!) and meet us at the stadium, us having driven over 2.5 hours first thing that morning, all came together perfectly – we arrived within 5 minutes of each other. We had a wonderful day, saw many great performances and experienced a magical atmosphere. Who knows how many more Commonwealth Games there will be in our lifetimes, or even if there are many, not within 2.5 hours of home! It was so worth all the planning and getting organised early for the best tickets and making the effort.

    1. @Katherine – congrats on a long-planned event actually happening! It’s wonderful when the pieces actually do come together like they are supposed to.

  3. Glad that the weather cleared and the concert could go on. Also, I loved the photo, perfect to show the blending of seasons.

  4. You are somewhat dubious by completely ignoring the main performer of that Emmylou Harris. A typical journalist of today, hiding truths .

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