I was a couple of glasses of wine into a Sunday dinner with my daughter a few months back when we decided we'd be in London in July in the front row of a Beyoncé concert. And just like that, hours later, as only the Taylor girls could, we made a couple of phone calls, had tickets to the show and a very sketchy plan on the logistics of it all, at best.
Fear and Flakiness
A couple of weeks before the trip, I started waffling. Between my worries of traveling during the holiday weekend because of the dreaded possibility of terror, to taking time away from work, to the expense of it all, I was feeling the f word on a couple of levels. Fear and Flakey.
You Remind Me
I decided I would look for a hotel in my old neighborhood around Hyde Park and share a bit of my life story with my daughter on our trip to Londontown. London is my "would be" second home. It's where I came to life in my early 20's and where I come alive each time I return.
The fact is, as I thought about the trip I realized I'd have to let go to go back to Bayswater. I'd have to give up a few days of my stress-driven life, give in to getting on the plane, give my daughter some time with me without wi-fi or email or interference, and face the memories of a much younger me scurrying through the busy streets of London at a much slower pace. Of course, baited by Beyoncé, I'd coax her into walking the streets and reminiscing with me, and maybe she'd finally realize how awesome I was after I told her all of my old stories. No such luck, because it takes way more than a stroll back down Bayswater Road or even a prance through Piccadilly Circus to be cool with this kid, I'd forgotten who I'd raised.
The Beyhive Bond
I really had no idea that it was both the concert that she wanted us to attend and the town that I loved so much that would draw us closer making this trip a good memory for us both.
When we finally got up to our front standing section at Wembley Stadium and began to instantly cleave to our new Beyhive peeps even before the show actually started, I was unaware of what I was in for. Men and women from everywhere, of all ages, color, and creed were peacefully uniting over Beyonce's boldness. While I knew the songs, really almost all of them, I never really listened until I heard my daughter singing her heart out in my ear while Beyoncé sang, danced and preached to thousands of fans from just a few feet in front of us. She always seemed physically larger than life to me until Saturday night, when I realized that her phenomenal ability to captivate and communicate through art, dance and music is iconic.
My daughter wrapped her arm around me during some of the songs she must have felt made her think of me. Her messages of self-love, strength, gratitude, and determination were strong throughout the performance. I understood why she was a symbol in my daughter's life that night. I was baptized into the Beyhive as she and her dancers kicked buckets of water into the front rows as they performed to the songs "Freedom" and "Survivor." I came expecting to be entertained, and left believing in the 'fem' power of Bey.
Mothers and Daughters
Being someone's mother is hard. Watching my daughter grow up as a young adult and learn by her own trials and errors, successes and wins without interfering has been pretty scary. I learned in London that being this daughter's mother has been the center of my being for nearly 20 years. In this last year, I refocused my energy toward work and my own self-discovery, and while it was a tough year for us both, we needed a heavy dose of independence in our lives.
One of the things we do best is laugh with a similar cackle at ourselves and roll on each other with serious sarcasm. We did a whole lot of that on our trip, and we even shed a few much needed tears. But what sums up our trip is a pretty simple little song we've been singing to each other since she was about three years old and it ends in the words, "love ya, love ya, love ya, I do."