Archive for September, 2010

I have to pause my regular blog updates to mark a milestone: my son’s 19th birthday. (Don’t worry – I’ll still fill you in on Day 17, but that will be a bit later.) Nick is a huge reason for my being on this road trip. Actually, he’s the reason for nearly every aspect of my life.

I got pregnant when I was 16. I hid it for the longest time and was in such denial that it was happening that I practically hid it from myself. With my closest friends I considered all my options, but never made any moves to do anything about it. In fact, it was someone else who told my mother: when I was six months pregnant she got a card in the mail with a beautiful beach scene on the cover and inside it said in big, red block letters: AMY IS PREGNANT. To this day we don’t know who sent it. But it was the biggest relief because we could then all face it together and my mom gave me the strength and inspiration to become a mother myself.

I gave birth to Nick in September of my senior year of high school. I was scared to death, but the second I held that little boy in my arms I was in love. I have thanked God every single day since for blessing me with Nicholas George. And I have prayed every day that he will be happy and healthy and safe and smart. For all of these years I have had a good deal of control over that, helping him, protecting him, seeing him nearly every day. But now he’s (in the eyes of the law) a grown up. He lives away at college. I am lucky when he returns my texts or calls. And his reliance on me is more emotional – I’m here for him any time he needs me, wants to talk, anything – and, of course, financial. I know he is strong and smart and independant. I am so proud of him, and know he’ll thrive and succeed at anything he puts his mind to, as long as he’s willing to work hard to make it happen. But…

It is so hard letting go. One of the things I wrote in a diary to him when he was born was how he was my new best friend and how happy I was that we had each other and I’d never be alone. I certainly wasn’t thinking about him growing up and moving out! The time passed too quickly, where did these 19 years go??? But I am so thankful for all our special times, our adventures, our time together in London. And I know we’ll still have those – he’s already got me signed up for family vacations with him, Alivia and my future grandchildren (hopefully way in the future) – but I know it will never be just him and me again, and that’s what’s so hard to let go of. And one of the main reasons for this road trip.

As I mentioned at the very beginning of the blog, I do believe this road trip is in part my denial of being left at home, alone. I moved out of my parents house into an apartment with baby Nicky. I’ve never lived alone in my entire life. I’m not even sure what the heck to do with any down time. Add to that no longer having my job (where I was quite the workaholic) or a fiance (broke up when I was in England) and selling my house (so no desire to remodel or redecorate), there didn’t seem to be anything (or anyone) needing me at home.

The road trip is definitely doing it’s job. I have been so on the go nearly every waking minute of the last 17 days that I really haven’t had time to think or realize (or face) all the major changes in my life. But today when the clock struck midnight, the tears started flowing. I called Nick and left him a message, and one on facebook too. Luckily, perfect timing, an old friend called right at that moment and cheered me up. 

So yes, I do know that at some point I will have to face all those things, but for now I am thankful I have this road trip so I can face them bit by bit. And I am so very, very thankful for every moment of the last 19 years and for the most wonderful son in the world. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and you, Nick, are the very best thing that’s ever happened to me.

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Luckily, I had the foresight to take notes yesterday since I was guessing – and rightly so – that I’d wake up this morning brain-dead. And I am. I’m happy I can still type. My head hurts (although not out-and-out pounding like yesterday.) So where am I and how did I get here?

Well, after I posted the blog (take 2) yesterday morning, I went to the Nashville airport. Thank goodness for Aidan! And I think whoever was watching over me the night before was still with me in the morning because as I was driving and my head kept pounding, I was zoning out, having to force myself to pay attention to both Aidan and the road – it wasn’t easy! Just glad the airport was only 10 minutes from the hotel. I did have to grin, though, when I got in the car and Kenny Chesney’s Out Last Night was just starting. Can’t think of a more perfect song to describe our evening!

I’m sure I’m telling you something you already know, but everything is so much louder and more difficult when you’re hung over. I just don’t drink much – virtually at all pre-London so I seem to forget the hang over feeling. The problem is I was flying to New York City to meet other London girlfriends for a party weekend. I wasn’t sure I could take it. But for my dear friends…

Tamara, from my London book/wine club, is getting married – woo hoo! (Well, kinda – they are actually already legally married, but now are going to do it in front of family and close friends, wedding dress and all.)  So she and Kris (hubby) are having a pre-wedding weekend of festivities with friends in the city. I’m bunking with Jamie, thanks to Steve, her husband, not being able to come. Both thank you and sorry, Steve! (It’s the nicest hotel I’ve stayed in yet – and no bed bugs, Gram!) It began last night – we all met at the Beirgarten at The Standard Hotel, then split into guys and girls.  

Coating our stomachs was a must, so we went to have tapas  (and lots and lots of sangria) at what is supposedly the first Spanish restaurant in the city. Everything was delicious – and there was way more food than the 15 of us could eat. They even had some interesting shaped food that Tamara made the most of. (You’ll know what I mean when you look at the pictures above…) This was Tamara’s third bachelorette party (I’ll never forget our London Dolly Parton night – still have the blonde wig) so we didn’t torture her too much.

From there we went to our reserved section of The Brass Monkey. Funny thing was that there were girls sitting in our area when we got there and as we kicked them out I invited them to join us to celebrate Tamara’s wedding and one of them was also getting married. She had just bought her reception dress and showed us – beautiful! Instant girl bonding at its best.

The Brass Monkey really was a meat market in the Meat Packing District. The music was pounding (and funny enough, while I was drinking my head wasn’t), the drinks were flowing and the men were moving in for the kill. Couldn’t seem to get rid of this Australian and this other mumbling guy. No matter what was said to deter them – even one of Tamara’s friends looking them in the face and saying “No. Go away.” Mostly there was the younger crowd – seemed most of the guys who ended up at our table were in their early 20s. (Uh, no – my son is practically your age!) So we used them to take pictures of us and then went back to our drinking and dancing. And then our feet started crying (the dogs are barking, one of the girls said), so we knew it was time to go…

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Day 15 – Sober take two

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So sorry about last night, folks. And now I am going to have to write this pretty quick, as I have to run to the airport very soon. Yes, giving Holly and Aidan (the car and the GPS) a little break and will be relying on public transport for a few days in NYC. But that’s later – let’s get back to yesterday! In order to do that, three hung over minds are better than one, so here’s what Helen, Keira and I remember…

  • We woke up early to go to the radio station and record the Big D and Bubba show. They were – to use a British term – lovely! They were intrigued by Helen and Keira’s accents and the fact that country music actually exists in England. It does – it’s how we met over there – but on a much, much smaller scale. Had a blast with them – thanks guys! We’ll be tuning in via the internet when we can’t get you on a station near us!
  • Pool action with Chicken Ranch Pizza – yum!
  • Went to pay our respects to Johnny and June at their gravesite. It was rather emotional for Helen, who loves Johnny with all her heart.
  • Visited Tommy, another of Helen’s Nashville friends, in his very cool tour bus, Bella, and had discussions about rock star stuff that can’t be mentioned on this family-friendly blog. Let’s just say that what happens on the bus, stays on the bus!
  • Tommy  just happened to be parked next to not only Eddie Money’s tour bus and the coolest black Hummer I’ve ever seen, but also the Gibson tour bus. The driver was awesome. He let us tour the bus and even took a picture of us strumming a guitar played by Sir Paul McCartney, himself!
  • We didn’t think the day could get much better (Well, I didn’t think it could get much better, but Helen reminds me, I’m with them and I shouldn’t be surprised, it just keeps getting better), but then we went to all of our first NHL game. Helen had contacted the Nashville Predators and told them she was visiting from England and they left great tickets for us at the Will Call window, along with a poster for Helen. Have to admit, I’m a football/baseball/basketball girl, but the hockey game was pretty cool. And that’s when things started to get hazy… The beers were huge and I’m not much of a drinker – never mind a beer drinker but I was at a hockey game so had to – and honestly, can’t remember how much we drank at the game. We do remember meeting and getting autographs and pics with some of the players, but the ones on my camera were lost to a drunken upload.
  • After the game, we stumbled onto Broadway and into a few bars where the music was great, there was more drinking, dancing and – I shudder to recall – some drunk texting. I will never do that again. I’ve already apologized this morning. Just glad they were texts so I actually know what was said, and someone was watching over me because my phone died before it got too bad. (Pictures were starting to be involved – not a good thing, from my perspective at least. Keira just chimed in that it was hysterical from their perspective. So glad I didn’t listen to her about the pictures she wanted me to send!) I do recall hearing Helen’s friend Penny Marie sing and she is incredible – hope to hear more from her in the future! She sang for a bit with Caleb Cain and the Southern Soul (I think? Will correct if this is the wrong name). They were really good and even played some Guns N Roses for Keira. Quite the mix with the country tunes!
  • Don’t remember much more except Keira and I nearly passing out at one of the bars, so leaving Helen with Penny and her boyfriend, and going back to the hotel. That’s when I made the mistake of trying to be productive and upload pics and somehow losing everything after the beginning of the hockey game – all my cool pics of the players, the beer, us girls and Penny and the other country singers. Ugh. Never again. Oh – and I should mention, Helen came home when I was trying to pack – with no luck – with a Reserved For Kid Rock sign. Only Helen.

Have to run now, must catch the plane. Am so going to miss these girls – we had more fun than I could’ve imagined. But as Helen said, I shouldn’t be surprised!

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