I’m the Cool Mom

Marley is into screamo music. What’s sceamo music? I’d explain it to you, but I don’t really know. I’m pretty sure it has a lot to do with angst, wearing black clothes, having a heavy hand with the black eyeliner, and hating your parents on a semi-regular basis. And the lead singers scream instead of sing. (Hence the name screamo.)

So it’s the perfect music for teenagers. At least the angst-ridden moody ones.

Like my daughter.

Some of you may be scratching your heads as you remember me taking an excited Marley to see Miley Cyrus, Travie McCoy and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis at the KIIS Jingle Ball – definitely not scremo. Well, all I can say to that is sometimes when there’s no one around to witness it I listen to country music in the car. So I suppose it’s possible that she likes listening to guys with neck tats scream (rather than sing) just as much as she likes to listen to Miley auto-tune twerk her way through a broken heart. What can I say – she’s a complicated girl.

Marley found out that Austin Carlile, the lead singer of the band Of Mice and Men, was doing an autograph signing to promote his Neff clothing line at Tilly’s in Pasadena. I said that I would take her because I remember what it’s like to idolize a rockstar. I used to be a bit of a fangirl myself. (My old friends are laughing hysterically right now saying to themselves, “A bit?!”)

Austin Carlile Neff
Every mother dreams of her daughter meeting rockstars like this right?

Tilly’s was handing out wristbands at 8AM (for a 2PM autograph signing) so I told Marley’s friends to meet at our house at 7:30. (Goodbye Saturday morning kickboxing class.) We were on the road by 7:45 but I started to get a little nervous when an overturned big rig closed down four lanes of the 101 and added about 30 minutes to our trip. What if this was a bigger deal than I realized and we showed up to a strip mall full of 500 pink hair kids in sleeping bags who had been camping out for days, rivaling Black Friday Walmart shoppers willing to give up their Thanksgiving for the prize of a $200 flat screen TV, just for the chance to meet their scremo idol?

I enjoyed listening to the girls on the car ride over. They all thanked me profusely for giving up my Saturday and told me I was such a cool mom (Marley’s eyes rolled so far back into her head I think they completely spun around on that comment). They mostly talked about the bands they liked. All of them mentioned listening to Green Day first and moving on to screamo band from there. So the next time you get all weepy listening to Time of Your Life,  just remember that Green Day is a gateway band. (Thanks a lot Billy Joe!)

We got to Tilly’s a few minutes before 9:00 and the line was long, but not too bad.

Waiting to see Austin Carlile

We ran in and I asked the girl if I needed a wristband. I didn’t want to take a wristband away from a kid, but I wanted to be able to go in and get photos of the girls.

“I don’t know. That depends on his people,” she answered.

If this was going to be the happiest 15 seconds of my daughter’s teenage existence I wanted to be there to witness it dammit! I gave up my kickboxing class Saturday for this. Sorry #401 – you should have gotten here earlier.

The girls set up camp on a couple of blankets and I wandered around the strip mall for a bit. I had intended to camp out in the Starbucks all day with my laptop and new Bridget Jones book (new Bridget Jones – squee!), but the lure of Old Navy and Nordstrom Rack proved to be too strong. I eventually made it to Starbucks around 11:00 (truly the worst Starbucks ever, BTW) and was lucky enough to procure a spot with an outlet.

I was there about 30 minutes when Marley and one of her friends showed up to get some sugar drinks (guess who paid).  They had drawn song lyrics all over their arms with Sharpie. One of the girls had taken a picture of their five hands and tweeted it. Austin Carlile retweeted it and it was then retweeted over 200 times. (OhMyGodOhMyGodOhMyGodOhMyGod! Austin Carlile retweeted my tweet!) I don’t think the girls really needed the sugar.

At 12:30 I went to get the girls a pizza and myself a salad. They allowed me to sit on their blanket with them to eat. As we were finishing the line started to push forward. He was here! Or about to be here – I’m not sure which. We cleaned up the pizza box, Starbucks cups, and all the other trash that accumulates from sitting on a blanket for five hours while waiting to meet a rock god and waited.

And waited.

Waiting to see Austin Carlile

And waited.

Waiting to see Austin Carlile

Well, they waited. I went to Nordstrom Rack to use the restroom. (And maybe check out their boots.) I walked down the street to the little thrift store I saw on my pizza run. Closed at 3:00 (It was 3:20.) 3:00? Who closes their store at 3:00 on a Saturday?! I sat on the lip of the fountain and read Bridget Jones and chatted with other parents.

It turns out that despite the scary tattoos, Austin Carlile is a very inspirational guy who tells people to follow their dreams, that things will get better, and to love, not hate. (Teenage angst is mere putty in his hands.)

He was incredibly gracious and generous with his fans and would hug anyone who asked for a hug (they all asked for hugs), listened to what they had to say, and would sign more than one thing (any celebrity handler will tell you that to move things along it is imperative to only sign one thing).

His fans were in heaven. (His publicist? Not so much.)

Austin Carlile at Tilly's
I have to admit, he’s pretty cute.

I joined Marley and her friends when they reached close to the front of the line (at around 4:45!) and two incredibly beautiful girls came up to me. You know the type – the type who look like they are used to getting what they want with a few blinks of their extra-long eyelashes and a well-placed pout.

“Are you here to meet Austin or are you just a mom?”

Just mom, grrr! Was it my gray roots and desperate need (that shall never be fulfilled) of botox or my lack of black eyeliner and black clothing that gave me away?

“I’m a mom, why?”

“Well, I see you have a wristband and it’s not really fair to take one from a kid. I got my wristband from another mom and I was wondering if my friend could have yours so we can meet him.”

“My wristband won’t slip off. It’s on too tight.”

“Well, that’s okay. We could wait with you and you could tell them that my friend is your daughter and you want her to have your wristband.”

At first I felt bad for her. Like I said, I know what it’s like to be a fangirl. Then I remembered how long these kids in line had been waiting. “Really? What time did you get here?” I asked her.

“Um, I don’t know a couple of hours ago.”

“A couple of hours ago? Well, my girls have been here for eight hours. And you want to hop in line with us, in front of the 100 people behind us who have also been here for eight hours? I may have ‘taken a wristband from a kid,’ but it still would have been long gone by the time you got here. You should have come earlier like everybody else.”

She slumped her shoulders and walked away.

“Was I wrong?” I asked a wristbandless dad next to me whose girls were in line right in front of mine? Maybe I was an asshole for taking a wristband from a kid.

“No way,” he told me. “Those girls didn’t earn it.”

At 5:00 the girls got in. Marley was over the moon. Austin chatted with her for about 30 seconds and then gave her a 10 second hug and a kiss on the cheek. She was shaking when she walked away.

Austin Carlile hugs fan
She’ll remember this hug forever

“What did you say to each other when he was hugging you?” I asked her.

“I’ll never tell anyone. That’s just for me,” she said.

Good for her. I hope she never does tell anyone. I hope she keeps just for her for forever.

All of my girls, like the girls I saw coming out before them, were crying – the anticipation and excitement and emotion of meeting Austin Carlile overwhelming them.

“Let’s go home, Mom. I’m so tired,” Marley said to me after they all went through.

All of the girls looked wrecked. Happy, but wrecked.

I sent out a tweet with a picture of the girls that said: “Next in line. Totally worth the 8 hour wait to see @austincarlile He’s so gracious to his fans. Happy girls.” Austin Carlile retweeted it Saturday night. (OhMyGodOhMyGodOhMyGodOhMyGod! Austin Carlile retweeted my tweet!) It got 20 retweets and 220 favorites. I have about 40 new teenage followers. I’m sure they’ll be unfollowing me immediately upon discovering that I’m just a mom and not a fangirl.

But when Marley’s friends thanked me again and told me I was a cool mom on the ride home Marley didn’t roll her eyes. Now that’s worth giving up a Saturday for.

One thought on “I’m the Cool Mom

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