If you know me, as a person.. or as a Mom.. You know I am a stickler for my rules. Use your manners, chew with your mouth closed, ALWAYS acknowledge the people around you, be humble and give thanks for all that you have. Be nice to your brother and sisters, respect your teachers.. ect.
Mostly, do your homework, don't argue, showers and books then bed by 8:30! NO EXCEPTIONS and DEFINITELY no sleep over's during the week.
Sean and I both had the day off and when he asked me what we should do, I replied with, "let's see if Dee will watch Cooper for the night and we can take Riley to the New Found Glory concert in Anaheim." .. Sean immediately replied with, "What about school tomorrow?" .. to which I replied, "He can still go, I'll take him on my way into work so he can have an extra hour of sleep.."
Sean looked at me like I had two heads but he agree'd.
Fast forward past everything everyone already knows and lets get to the good stuff.
We dropped Coop off with DeeDee and headed down the hill from there. We told Riley in the car, that we were on our way down to see NFG. His first response was, "I GET TO SEE DRESSED TO KILL?!" Oh man, priceless.
Sean told Riley all about how I had done my best to ask that they play his ONLY favorite song right now and that hopefully, nothing happens in-between and he get's to experience it, in person. Riley said a few mentionable, cute things like, "Mommy, did you tell them that we have to drive down the hill so that they don't sing it without me?" .. I had to explain that this wasn't a personal show for him and that they would be singing the song (and a lot more) for a whole crowd of people. Little did I know, how wrong my explanation would be.
Ian, who play's the bass for New Found Glory (and I am not name dropping to "name drop".. give me a minute) was the band member who responded to my requests today. He let me know that my plea's and down right ridiculousness (I had no idea what I was doing.. SO I called House of Blues and left my name and number with just about anyone who would write it down..) had not gone unheard or ignored and that they would play #dressedtokill this evening. Ian also instructed me to take Riley to the Merch booth for a special surprise. Seriously guys, totally unexpected. All I wanted was for my monkey to hear that song.. that was it. My only request.. not even an expectation, just a hope. I was stoked to think he might get a shirt or a CD. When Sean and Riley returned back to me during Tiger's Jaw I was so shocked and stoked to see Riley holding a drum head, addressed to him and signed by the entire band.. Ian even snuck some guitar picks onto the back. His face was so bright, it was the best start to an even better night.
Riley held strong (he went to school today and came home, played with Coop, took an hour nap and then rocked like a star).. He only asked to be held once, he fought with me about ear plugs but mostly.. he just rocked the fuck out. Seriously..
He danced around for Tiger's Jaw, he really rocked for Yellowcard (he said he liked that they cussed, they said the "F" word a lot but not as much as Mom.. those were his words.) Then, NFG hit that stage and he smiled from ear to ear. He rocked with his hands in the air, he sang the words he knew and he looked like he was exactly where he was meant to be.
I should rewind a bit and explain how it is that we ended up front and to the right.. When we got to the venue, I asked if there was a way we could upgrade so that Riley had a place to sit. The security told me that VIP was full but to head downstairs to the bar on the right.. that SOMETIMES they had been known to let kids sit up there but it was all based off of the bartenders mood. Doesn't hurt to ask, right? The bartender's were all super awesome and immediately complimented Ri. They were more then willing to let the little guy sit atop their bar! However, one super awesome bartender went above and beyond and helped me EVEN MORE. He directed me to security by the stage and told me what to say.
Security more then obliged. Security at House of Blues, you're all rockstars and you helped make this night even more amazing. Guard #50 (I never got his name..) directed Riley to the front of the barricade and stood watch next to him. Only a handful of times was Riley asked to move (for crowd surfers).. his first live musical experience was so much more then VIP.
So, back to when NFG hit the stage, Riley was sitting tall and excited with his drum head.. in complete AWE. He was directly in-front of Chad, who plays guitar. Chad kept laughing and smiling at Riley and at one point, stopped and pointed out to the crowd how hard Riley was rocking. They invited him up on the stage at this point and planted him on a stool. They found some ear muffs for the kid and went right back to rocking.
Then the time came.. the moment Riley was made for. They started singing Dressed to Kill and from the corner of the stage, my baby air drummed and sang his little heart out! Before I knew it, he had a microphone in his hand and he was on risers, singing to a sold out venue! He had Jordan's arm around him and he was singing his little heart out, almost every word, on point. He was jumping up and down off those risers and he was so interactive with the other members, I couldn't believe it was happening. All I could do was cry. Ugh, ugly, dinosaur tears for my tiny human!! He was the most happy I have ever seen him!!!! NFG let him take that part of the show and for that I will forever be grateful. I am grateful to all in attendance who cheered for my baby on that stage and who chanted his name, over and over. It was so humbling to see so many other pieces working to make MY son's night a special one.
You all know Riley.. give him an inch and he takes more then a mile. The song came to an end and they placed him back on his stool.. only for Riley to rush back out onto the stage! My heart stopped as Jordan came crashing back onto him.. He got up, shook it off and went back to his corner. Later, when we asked if he was hurt or embarrassed he replied with, "not at all.. all I could say was, "Oh shoot!"
Before the following song, Jordan apologized (totally not your fault!) and Chad ran some general rules off to Ri. He did great from that point on..
They kept checking in on him, asking if he wanted to come back down with us to which he OBVIOUSLY replied, "No thanks". He had oatmeal cookies from the stage and he soaked it all in.
When the show was over, they gave Riley the set list, some drum sticks and the ear muff's he had worn on stage. He came down off the stage with a light inside I haven't ever seen before! Everyone around us told him what a great job he did, they gave him High Fives and they all called him by his first name.
As we walked out through Downtown Disney, Sean told Riley how proud he was of him. How his cheeks hurt from smiling and how Riley was so confident up on stage. As we walked, people kept pointing and saying, "THATS RILEY!" Oh, he totally ate up every bit of that.
Sean took him to the bathroom, as I waited outside a guy walked by and said to his friend, "I can't believe that kid knew every word to dressed to kill! That was awesome!" .. Uhm, you're welcome.. I did that. I'll take credit for every, last bit of that! Thank you!
So, not in short at all.. that was our night, our amazing, rule broken night.
Tonight I got to watch my baby have one of the greatest musical experiences ever. Tonight, he was blissfully happy and whole.. tonight you would not know, for even a second everything he has been through in the last 6 months.
Tonight we helped him make memories that will last him a lifetime. Tonight, we made 2015 a little less sucky!
This morning though, at 3:07 a.m. .. I am so thankful to New Found Glory, to Ian, Chad, Jordan and Cyrus I don't know how to express to you how grateful I am for all the smiles that we got to see come from Riley. I wish that I could put into words, how much more this meant to me, as a Mom who just wanted him to hear his favorite song, live.
I was already a die hard fan and I already have so much respect for musicians and the sacrifice you make. I understand that what you do is a give and take.. especially when you have your own families.
Thank you for taking the time to read my Facebook messages.. for not only honoring my request but going above and beyond. All I know how to say in words is that the entire experience was humbling.
Riley's 15 minutes of fame can be followed on IG, Facebook and I'm sure a youtube video, somewhere.
Later this morning when his eyes open, he will be forced back to reality and back to school. He is already concerned that no one is going to believe he got to go to a concert, let alone on stage!
"Mommy, you have to call Mrs. Streubing so that she knows it's all true!" -Riley Fox