Three months ago, while in a mindless scroll through Instagram, I saw a post by Matt Maher (a Catholic singer-songwriter – one of the best in my opinion). His post was announcing that he was going on tour in the fall. Naturally, I checked to see if he would be near our home in Pittsburgh, PA. To my delight, he was! Only 30 minutes from our house. I talked to my husband and expressed my interest in going to the concert, not just him and I, but with our kids as well.
The concert was going to be a Friday night in October – not affecting school or work. It was close. The tickets were reasonably priced. It was going to be at a smaller venue. And, I mean, it was MATT MAHER. Both my husband and I had been to his concerts before, but the opportunity for this to be all three of our children’s FIRST concert was one I didn’t want to pass up.
My husband and I both work from home – with our three children right there with us. We have turned into a house that almost ALWAYS has music playing. We have a few playlists/artists we cycle through – all of them Christian (except for the random times when Frozen, Encanto, or Doc McStuffins make their way through the speaker). The most-played playlist is our 3.5 hour Matt Maher playlist. We know the order the songs are in. Our kids know most of the words. It’s our six-month-old’s favorite background music to nap to. We all find ourselves bobbing our heads to the same songs day in and day out. The picture I’m trying to paint is this: we all know and love Matt Maher. So it was a no-brainer that we’d all be going to the concert.
When I bought the tickets in July, October 27th seemed like a long way away. But, per usual, the date approached rather quickly. The morning of the concert, I told our oldest that when I picked him up from Kindergarten that afternoon, we’d come home, eat an early dinner, and then be off to the concert! He was so excited. The day flew by, and I picked him up from school. We got home, and I helped him change out of his uniform into a shirt that he thought was perfect for a concert: a graphic t-shirt with an astronaut playing the planets like they were drums.
We made “make your own pizza” for dinner – a Friday night staple in our house. And then… he started to complain about his stomach. We kind of wrote it off, and piled into the car. Off we went! … A whole 4 minutes before I realized I forgot the headphones to protect our baby girl’s ears. So we turned around. My husband ran inside to get them, and we started back down the road.
I failed to mention that we bought “Early Access” tickets. This meant that we’d get in the doors 15 minutes before the rest of the General Admission tickets. We made the choice to purchase Early Access so we could have a bigger selection of seats for our kids since the venue did not have assigned seats. We wanted to make sure they could see!
So, we turned back around, already getting close to missing the “Early Access” window. We jokingly said “okay, 15 more minutes until we paid too much for our tickets”.
“MY THROAT HURTS!”
“What do you mean your throat…”
Puke. Before we were even a minute back down the road.
Crying. As we had to change out of the perfect astronaut drumming shirt.
Frantic. Cleaning of a car seat and a six-year-old.
Worried. Trying to figure out if we should go to the concert or not. I wanted our kids to experience this concert. I had been imagining it for months! We HAD to go. I mean, I was willing to NOT go if our son seemed like he couldn’t get through it. But, he wanted to go.
We got back in the car, plastic bags in hand. Our son said he was feeling better and insisted that he didn’t want to miss the concert.
We were ten minutes away from the venue. More puke. Thankfully most made it in the bag.
By the time we reach the venue, I am a worried mess. Our son is claiming to feel better, and it’s pretty obvious that there could not be any more puke. He was on the verge of tears insisting that he wanted to go to the concert. So we made the decision to get in the Early Access line – the back of it, but nonetheless, our tickets were not worthless.
We found seats on the side in about the 7th row. We took our son to the bathroom to clean up, to reset and to settle in for the concert. The whole hour we spent waiting for the concert to start, I asked our son every 3 minutes (probably) if he was okay. Soon enough, he said he was hungry and started acting like himself.
The concert started. I was still a worried mess. But then all of a sudden, my son, my daughter, my husband, myself, and our sleeping baby (favorite napping music, remember?) were singing at the top of our lungs. Childlike wonder appeared in our kid’s eyes as the lights moved around the room and the GIRL DRUMMER (my daughter was pumped) performed their favorite songs in front of their little eyes. It was very evident that the audience was there to worship God. It was beautiful. Our kids didn’t want to leave even as we approached three hours past their bedtime. We did leave during the encore, but other than that, they didn’t miss a single beat of the show. It was one of the top 5 nights with our kids, easily.
I learned a very valuable lesson that night. We have these ideas of “perfect” experiences for our kids. But then they puke.
But yet, God finds a way to work when we make room for Him in our lives. I will NEVER forget hearing my six and three-year-old belting out words about Jesus and loving other people OVER the noise of a live concert from the 7th row. God wants us to come to Him – child or adult – and He will take us without our perfect astronaut drummer shirt. I’m repeatedly taught that it’s not MY job to create “perfect” experiences for our kids. I just need to help them show up by simply giving the chance to experience God. I cannot create perfection. He already has… and is.
Our Top 5 Matt Maher songs:
- The Lord’s Prayer (It’s Yours)
- He Shall Reign Forevermore
- Common Ground
- The Way You Love Me
- Alive & Breathing