And so when his birthday came around this spring, I snapped up a pair. In the 11th row, on the floor, by the way. Except Ticketmaster doesn't send you paper tickets anymore; you get an email. I didn't want to hand him an email; that's lame! So I opened up Photoshop and made some tickets for us.
And then I wanted to do something a bit more Rachelish than just handing him the tickets (have you noticed I can be a bit loud and obnoxious?), so I threw the kids in the truck the night before his birthday and we drove to Savers, where I bought the ugliest paisley tie I could get my hands on. I wrapped it in tissue paper and put it in a bag, and then tucked it away in my dining room.
The next day, we went to lunch in town to celebrate his birthday. On the way, we went back to my house and I told him I had a little something for him. We stood in the dining room.
First I handed him the mushy card - and then the ugly assed tie. "You told me you liked paisley, remember?"
He stared at me with a frozen smile - it was SO cute - because that tie was your Great Uncle Howard's version of HORRID. "Thanks," he said.
"Well, if that's not your style, how about a different kind of paisley instead?" And then I handed him the pair of homemade tickets:
It took him a moment and I watched his face as it sunk in. He was so excited.
So in June when we drove back to Where We Were From Before, we were really, really, REALLY excited for this concert. We stopped at a Walmart outside of Chicago and bought the American Saturday Night CD and that sucker was on repeat from that moment until we parked the borrowed beetle back home.
Every song had us holding hands and stealing kisses at stoplights. We told stories and made some amazing memories. For example, I can no longer listen to Catch All The Fish without thinking of his dad. Which makes me think of my dad. Little bit of beyond the grave bonding right there.
Just before the concert, my mom and I drove Bryon out to the little country western store, where he picked up the sexiest cowboy hat I've ever seen. Just sayin'.
Then we went back to our hotel and had a quick shoot.
Seriously? Soooo much went into the event. The hat. The music. The vulnerability. The learning each other over and out.
When we walked to the concert venue downtown and I had a moment where I realized I had come full circle. I was holding hands with him Where We Were From Before, and we were both all in and lovey and gooey. I'll never forget that moment. Hot and humid outside, right on the curb. He was staring at me with those green eyes.
I did mention the awesome seats, right? Homeboy had tears in his eyes for a good portion of the evening. We could have touched Brad. Could see his fingers on the frets of his guitar.
And last but not least, Brad's encore. Ticks.