On a day where precious little seems to be happening in the land of Duran, I’m lucky to have stumbled upon a news item worthy of discussion.
There is an article being circulated by a few news pages on Facebook about a man who wrote his daughter an excuse for being late to school. Here’s the note:
Now, I realize that in the note he’s comparing Bruce Springsteen to God. I also recognize that for many readers, this is not a realistic, or even possible comparison, regardless of the reason. I’ll leave you all to debate that particular comparison or topic amongst yourselves, on your own forms of social media.
Instead, it had me remembering the time I took my own daughter out of school to go meet Duran Duran in Hollywood. At the time, Heather was eight, and she was in third grade. I should also mention this was at the signing for Astronaut, which came out in 2004. I’ve written about meeting the band, but I don’t know how much I actually said about just being with Heather for the experience. (I may have written some along the way, so I apologize if you’re reading and thinking, “Get over it, Rhonda. Who cares?!?” For the rest of you, this is new!) Not only was it Heather’s first time meeting Duran Duran, but it was mine too…and it was the only time either of us met them as a full group.
There are moments that happen in life when only later while reflecting do you begin to recognize their significance. That night is one of those times for me. During this particular period in 2004, Heather was getting heavily involved in dance. It was a huge commitment for everyone because I could never go anywhere without considering who would get her to the studio and back home at night. In addition to the time commitment, I felt like I was really losing my daughter in a lot of ways. Rather than spending quality time with me, she was being taught by circumstance to consider the studio her home, dance teachers and classmates her family. I missed her, but I recognized that dance was her passion, even at the tender age of eight. In the meantime, I’d planned a Duran Duran fan convention in New Orleans, met new friends, got involved online, and basically branched out on my own, trying to find and get reacquainted with the person I was prior to being “mommy”.
Along came the announcement of the signing. I wavered quite a bit before making the decision to go. Hollywood is a trek from my house (I almost never drive up there because I hate the traffic), it was during the middle of the week – twice – once to buy the album and get the wristband, another trip to actually meet the band for the signing, and I knew that trying to make the schedule work in between all of the other responsibilities I had was going to be impossible.
As always, I hesitantly tested the waters with my husband. Back then, I was afraid to tell him about events with the band because I knew he didn’t get it, and I knew it would just cause problems. I hate to say it, but I was a pretty wimpy wife back then. I figured I’d mention it at dinner, get the proverbial eye-roll and look of disgust, and then let it go. So I remember very uncertainly commenting about it – just an offhanded, “So, Duran Duran is doing an album signing in Hollywood, can you believe that?” sort of thing. Back then we had a small round table we ate at in my kitchen, and I remember Heather getting so excited. She was overjoyed that mommy would finally get to meet Duran Duran. In her head, there wasn’t even a question whether I’d go, or whether I’d really get to meet them. I was really kind of surprised that she understood the significance at her age, but for whatever reason, she did. She really seemed to understand that for me, this was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing, and that I’d waited since I was ten. That kind of made Walt take notice when otherwise, I don’t think he would have spent two seconds even listening. Fandom of any kind isn’t his thing, so I didn’t have any grand designs about having any sort of understanding from him about meeting Duran Duran. Going to meet a band probably seemed like a gigantic waste of time to him. Heather spoke so animatedly about it, saying that she wanted to go with me and how much fun it would be. Walt looked at me and said, “Why don’t you go then?” I am pretty sure my jaw hit the table.
Of course, I knew plenty of reasons why I shouldn’t. Dance classes. School for Heather. Driving up and back. What would I do with “the baby”? (“the baby” at that time was my son…who is now 16, about 5’10” and towers over me….and I don’t even remember now what I did with him that afternoon!!) After a little thinking, and pinching myself that I might actually get to meet Duran Duran, it was decided that Heather would only need miss one morning of school and…miss dance class to go to the signing. (Just to drive this point home: Heather never missed dance class. Not while sick, not while injured, not when friends had birthday parties, or for family functions. Never.)
So we went. It was one of the best experiences ever, and not just because I got to speak to Roger Taylor and tell him that he was my favorite band member and that I was so glad he came back. (Yes, I really did say those words. At least I didn’t tell him that I spent a good part of my days back when I was 12 waiting for him to show up on my doorstep realizing that I was the girl for him. I did have some good sense.) As exciting as it was to be so close to the band that I could tell Simon had seen the inside of a tanning booth at some point and that yes, Nick’s skin really was absolutely flawless…the best part was being there with Heather, and watching her see MY reaction.
How many times do we really get that chance to share something from our own childhood with our children? I don’t mean just taking them to Disneyland or whatever amusement park you spent time as – I mean a real passion. Something that truly defined you, or made you who you really are underneath all of that “Mom” stuff? For me, Duran Duran is very much that “thing”. (I laugh ruefully here, because little did I know in 2004 just how much Duran Duran was about to play part in my life. Little did I know….) I kept sneaking glances at Heather as she looked around at all of the people we were waiting in line with, and watching her reactions as we’d talk about the band. There was no filtering my love (or anyone else’s) or exuberance for the band. She was experiencing my fandom exactly the way I would have shown it even if she hadn’t been there. She saw the good, the bad, and maybe even a bit of the ugly. But the best part for me was that it was something we experienced together.
I shared a part of my deepest, and sometimes darkest, inner me with my daughter. And as a result, Heather has never once…not even a little…ever made fun of this blog or what it has become. Let’s face it, the blog is a pretty easy target. Upon first glance, one might think it’s a cute little love note, or marginalize it to just being a serious symptom of being a fanatic. Two grown women, writing a blog about a band?!? The jokes almost write themselves. I know this, and Amanda knows this. My family (mostly) thinks Daily Duranie is a waste of time, no matter what I share with them about our traffic or the sheer amount of people who thank us or recognize Amanda and I when we’re together at a Duran show. I’ve learned to keep the blog to myself and not share with the family, or if I do share – I just make light of it, because it’s easier than hoping for respect I’ll never get. Not Heather. For whatever reason, and I tend to think it’s because I shared a little bit of what makes me “tick” with her that night, she’s never once made fun. She encourages me, tells me to follow my heart, and does exactly for me as I do for her when it comes to her dreams.
I don’t remember what I wrote on the note I gave to the school for her excuse. I’m pretty sure I didn’t say anything about standing in line for hours to get a wristband to see Duran Duran, though. I wish I had, because I think she learned as much about me that night as I did about her.