Dear They Might Be Giants,
I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for a terrific concert this weekend in Arlington, Massachusetts. We drove in with all three boys to see your show, and to be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It’s hard for us to take all of our boys anywhere, and this was our first concert together. But we love your music, so we thought we’d give it a try.
At first, things didn’t go all that smoothly. We waited outside in line for about a half hour, about 20 minutes longer than I had anticipated. We were in the shade for the most part, so it wasn’t all that bad. I thought we were doomed though when we went into the theater box office to get our tickets, and Howie started to gag from the mix of the popcorn and people smell. All those bodies and all those food smells are usually the “kiss of death” for him, so I thought we were leaving right then and there.
See, my 4 year old son has sensory processing disorder. This means that he has trouble regulating his “sensory input”. He’s overly sensitive to the world around him – smells, sounds, noises, crowds…all these things come bombarding at him all at once, and his body and brain have trouble making sense of it all. Sometimes his behavior spirals out of control. Sometimes he retreats into my arms. Sometimes both. Taking him to a concert with live music was really bringing him out of his comfort zone. Add this to the concert starting right at Lewis’ nap time, and I was beginning to think I should file this trip under “What was I thinking?”
Once inside, we were lucky enough to find four seats together in the back row by the aisle. We know most people shy away from this spot, but it was perfect for us. We could see but it wasn’t too close for the lights to be too bright. We could hear, but it wasn’t too loud. And most importantly, we could get up and leave easily if needed.
But, They Might Be Giants, you did an amazing job of knowing your audience and planning your show accordingly. You kept the lights on in the theater so the kids could see each other and their parents. There were no sudden loud noises or explosions (well, except for the confetti machine, but we were far enough back that we were able to enjoy it without getting scared). You kept the banter between songs to a minimum, and played familiar songs from all your kids’ albums so that we could constantly remind our son “Hey! We know this song!”. And you even threw us a parents a couple of songs too from the old days (thank you for Istanbul- one of my favs!) My oldest son was singing along to all his favorites from “Here Comes Science”. Your album re-ignited his love for science, and he’s telling grownups about the periodic table and how the sun is made of gases. My youngest fell asleep (no offense, but he’s the third child and it was nap time).
And after an hour on my lap, Howie got down, walked over to the railing next to our seats, and proceeded to pretend to play the bongos along with “Particle Man” and “Alphabet of Nations”. He was dancing and singing and moving to the music. It was truly a remarkable experience for me and for our family, seeing him up like that. On our way out the door after your encore, Howie turned to me and said “That was GREAT!!”.
It was more than great. It was amazing. So thank you They Might Be Giants. You allowed our family to have a wonderful experience together, and showed us that it’s ok to push ourselves out of our comfort zone. Thank you for giving us the ability to enjoy live music as a family again.
All of Us
“Blue canary in the outlet by the light switch
who watches over you
make a little birdhouse in your soul
Not to put too fine a point on it:
say I’m the only bee in your bonnet
make a little birdhouse in your soul” – They Might Be Giants