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When We Found, “Us”, Again at a Pearl Jam Concert

Jodi Shenal by Jodi Shenal Additional Needs

Jodi Shenal

Jodi Shenal

I'm a stay-at-home mom with two amazing children. My son is on the Autism spectrum and my daughter has a rare genetic disorder and multiple disabil...

As a parent of children with special needs, this new world has replaced the old world that I lived in.

Life once entailed going to work, bringing home a steady paycheck, and spending, “free time”, with friends.

Once, I went on dates with my wonderful husband regularly and we even spent a night away, from time to time.

It’s hard to remember that world; that previous life. My children are now my world, and they are my life. I love them with every fiber of my being and I would have that no other way.

However, something happened recently that reminded me of who I used to be before this life….I found myself again.

Years overdue for a night out together, my husband and I ordered tickets to a concert on a whim. Our long-time  favorite band, Pearl Jam, was playing one hour from our home.

We heard on the radio that they would be performing and without hesitation, we immediately purchased tickets.

“On-a-whim”, and, “without hesitation”, are words that we thought had vanished from our vocabularies.

Our life is filled with routines, planning, and a reluctance to schedule date night in fear that events beyond our control will force us to have to cancel.

Ordering tickets for a concert, two months in advance, travelling an hour from home, and staying out past midnight had become ideas unheard of!

Leaving home alone together in recent years had become so rare, it had become a special occasion to just grab a quick coffee together, by ourselves. That is just the way it is.

When our date night arrived, we were like two ecstatic teenagers!

Feeling the excitement as the lights went out and the reminiscent music started, I felt renewed.

Seeing the band on stage, while my husband and I danced and sang along to all of our old favorite songs, I sensed the old me resurfacing.

Hearing the familiar music from our youth, and feeling it loudly vibrate down into our souls, we were finding US again.

For a moment in time…there were no meds, no therapies and no meltdowns. There was only the two of US, having our ultimate date night.

While we rushed home after the amazing show ended and we couldn’t wait to kiss our babies goodnight, we made a vow to make time to just be US more often.

When we listen to all those songs now, they have new meaning. They remind us of a simpler time, while simultaneously reinforcing the fact that the old version of US hasn’t disappeared. 

The old me is still in there somewhere, and in most ways, I’m better than I once was. I know now that finding ourselves again and reconnecting from time to time is imperative to stay afloat in this life.

One small piece of advice I offer to other parents and couples in our shoes... Do things for YOU.

Do those things that make you deliriously happy.

Go see that that bucket-list concert, have coffee, go for a long run, hit the gym, go on amazing dates with your spouse.

When you are like us and can’t always find the time - sometimes you just have to MAKE the time!


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