There’s always going to be a hustle on tour, trying to cram in as many gigs as we can to connect with old fans and reach new ones. There is little time to sight-see, but we make time anyway. Workouts are shortened and improvised, but we squeeze them in anyway. Socializing with fans and with each other is necessary and beautiful but it’s tiring and we do it because it’s why we’re out here on the road. The days start to blend into each other fast: wake up, shower, eat hotel breakfast, drive for 2 to 8 hours, sound check, eat dinner, play show, socialize, go to sleep, wake up, pack the van and repeat for 7 to 21 days.
On the UK leg of our tour, we were a group of nine in two vehicles. This was a special tour where Caroline’s mom Joy came over with us to watch her son…
…and Sue’s folks, Ted & Lynn, came over to watch her son, while we hit the stage every night.
Having two babies born 3 days apart is a hilarious addition to our band family. They’ve known each other from the beginning and I expect they will be friends many decades from now. But having two babies on the road requires finesse and the foresight to know that their needs (naps, hunger and diaper changes) will likely not line up. So for now, they travel in separate vehicles and they are the boss of whatever car they are in. They are cute and loud and shout the loudest “BYE GUYS” you’ve ever heard from tiny lungs.
Having the parents, Joy, Ted and Lynn on tour was a riot! They had the inside scoop into tour life for ten fast and furious days: the hours spent on the motorways instead of sightseeing, cramming in rehearsals in spare moments, the short sleeps every night, the quick breakfasts and the hustle to get 9 people to the next town every day. Touring is not for the faint of heart, and I’ve talked to many people who say they couldn’t do what we do. And that may be true, but you never know until you hop in the van, hit the road, and see for yourself. It’s a full life having babies in the van, and a fun way to include parents into the secret, not-so-secret demands of tour. And to those of you who think you can’t do it, we just watched three amazing grandparents hustle like pros while surviving colds, bumps & bruises!
I watched Caroline and her mom every day in the van laughing, working together, giving each other breaks from caring for the baby and enjoying this gift of time together. On a couple of mornings and evenings I had a chance to see Sue’s parents enjoying England, enjoying the time with their grandson, and I heard all about the bonding road trip they experienced in the second car playing crosswords together and enjoying long lunches together when they could.
I thought about my mom every day during that trip, and wondered if I could have ever convinced her to come on the road with me – though deep down I know it would have been a hard sell to get her in the tour van. Still, I like to imagine her enjoying German Bratwurst with me and seeing my world from the inside. And I wonder if I’ll be able to get my Dad on a road trip (either on tour, or to Newfoundland someday) and show him how fun traveling can be when you’re a seasoned traveller and know all the tricks and have frequent flyer status to skip security lines and enjoy the Air Canada lounge. (And Caroline’s Dad too, we need to get him out on the road with us at least once!)
So, I say to thee, if you can please take a trip with your parents. Or take many trips with your parents. Do it however you can, for a night, for a weekend, for two weeks. Go somewhere together you’ve never been and eat at new restaurants and talk to them in a new environment. There is bonding that happens in the midst of chaos and newness that you can’t find anywhere else. I watched it happen all week with my best friends and their folks. And don’t you worry, I wasn’t left out of the parental love. I got their hugs, their funny stories, and witnessed their joy and fatigue up close and personal. We all bonded, and our Good Lovelies family got stronger. Our families are connected to each other and have been for 10+ years. We’re lucky to have access to not only each others folks, but each others siblings, kids and partners. We should have a reality show…
To all the grandparents who go on tour to support the touring moms and dads, we salute you, we love you, we appreciate you, and we hope you weren’t scared off from coming on tour again down the line. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your unconditional love.
I snapped this photo at Heathrow airport, at the end of 10 days touring England. In back, left to right are: Joy, Ted, Lynn, down in front are the touring babies. They don’t even know how good they’ve got it. What a wild trip. And now we’re onto the second part of tour in Germany where the grandparents fly home and the Dads roll into town…