Wednesday, July 1, 2009

To U2

Dear U2:

Today, I am 22 weeks pregnant. We are happily expecting our first baby girl after three rambunctious little boys. At the October 6 concert in Atlanta, I will be 8 months pregnant. Just look for the beached whale about 4 rows back.

I have never really been one of those people who wants to meet celebrities. I don't want to meet any of you guys. I think when two people meet, the impact should be mutual, and so I've never been really interested in meeting famous people who will not remember me 5 minutes later. So I do not write this with secret hopes of being pulled up on stage or invited to meet the band. Good gracious, please don't do anything that might plaster my hugely bloated and pregnant body onto the gigantic jumbo-tron. I need to see myself larger than life about like I need a hole in the head.

However, I wanted you to know how much I love your music. I listen to a great variety of music. There are many pieces of music that have touched my life in many ways: some of them classical, some of them sacred, some of them popular.

But the music that takes me back to times and places and experiences more than any other is yours: it's U2.

When I hear the first twang of guitar at the beginning of "Running to Stand Still" I am taken back first to the time my husband and I spent dating before we were married; and then, more recently, to the day we brought our twins home from the hospital. We were absolutely unprepared, in the way all parents are the first time around, for most of the challenges we faced, and the first one hit us before we were out of the hospital parking lot. As both of our precious babies started to wail and scream in the backseat, we did the only thing we could in a moving car: we turned on the CD player. It was Joshua Tree and the song up next was "Running to Stand Still". Instantly, they were calmed. Today, they're 4 years old and that song still hushes upset little boys. I hope it always will.

When I hear "Beautiful Day" I am taken back to the time we spent in Memphis, where my husband attended graduate school. I remember vividly sitting in my car on the interstate, stopped dead in home-bound rush hour traffic under a brilliant blue Memphis spring sky, windows down, listening gloriously to "Beautiful Day" blasting on the radio. In that moment, it didn't matter that I was stuck on the road and late getting home. It was truly a beautiful day.

When I hear "Miracle Drug" I remember the smallness of my first two children, who arrived together. I hear the line, "Freedom has a scent -- it's the top of a newborn baby's head" and I can smell the tiny baby smell and I look forward to welcoming another one, probably our last, into our family.

When I hear "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses" I am again 13 years old, at summer music camp, captivated by this band, new to me, but known to many others. I am borrowing the Auchtung Baby tape from the blond and goofy Elizabeth, who's older siblings have been listening to U2 for years. I could not get enough -- still can't.

When I hear "With or Without You", followed very quickly by "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" I am in college again, lamenting the vagaries of love I thought would be permanent but wasn't.

Nearly every pivotal experience I have had in my life has had some U2 song as part of the soundtrack, and now that music is inextricably tied to my memories of those seminal moments: "All I Want Is You", "Numb", "Sunday Bloody Sunday", "Yahweh", "Desire", "Mysterious Ways", "Electrical Storm", "I Will Follow".

Thank you for living lives parallel to mine, for having your own experiences as the genesis for songs that would accompany me through life.

I will be there on October 6, barring any unforeseen early labor. Any chance you'll play me a song? I even have a few suggestions. How about a little "Miracle Drug", in honor of the new baby who will be hearing you for the first time in utero? I was disappointed when we didn't hear that one during the last tour. Or even better, how about the acoustic version of "Stuck in a Moment"? Just a voice and a guiter -- no offense intended to Adam & Larry. No matter what, I'll be reliving my own life with every song you play.

Thanks again for the music.



Side note: I also e-mailed this to U2. I'll take my camera with me to the concert just in case they're really paying attention to all of their fan mail!


  1. Can't tell you how excited I am that I am going with you to this concert.


  2. So, I feel like I'm the only person in the world who is not obsessed with U2. And in fact, sometimes change the station when they come on. I am a horrible, horrible person.

    But have fun! I love going to concerts. You know, like Britney Spears. Totally classy.

  3. I love U2 (and Bono) ... I wonder if they still have tickets ... have to go check and see.

    I truly hope you get your picture with them ... wouldn't that be something!!!!

  4. You know, I don't really know much about these guys, but unlike Kristina the Philistine, I am willing to learn. So I'm calling my buddy Ken and asking to borrow his U2 CDs, of which he has all, and I'm going to load them onto my iPod and catch up with the rest of you U2 aficionados.

    You'll have a great time in October! Of course, you'll be the only one sitting on a hemorrhoid doughnut, but hey! Maybe they'll put THAT on the Jumbo-tron instead!!

  5. I too am U2 clueless, but I'm going to have to find a way to listen to those songs now!

    22 weeks!!! Woot Woot!

  6. Oh, you are speaking my language. This is my favorite band of all time and the only band that with the same ease of a whiff or woodsmoke or the taste of candy corn can transport me to a different time and place. My nine-year-old loves U2 and I will train my toddler up right, too. Did you see their Imax show last year? Almost as good as being there. Enjoy, kindred spirit.

  7. Hope you have a great time!!
    I'm going to have to try running to stand still at my house!

  8. I love U2 too (although for some mysterious reason we don't own any of their albums). I'm envious you get to go see them live, pregnant or not. (I still regret that we didn't get to see Ella Fitzgerald live at the Hollywood Bowl because she came on our firstborn's due date.) I love the memories triggered by all these songs you listed. I'm guessing the concert will provide a big wonderful memory of this baby, this pregnancy, the whole experience.

  9. Eeeh! How exciting for you!!! i'm so jealous! You are going to have a blast. and uh, sorry... since you were on my blogroll I never thought to check and see if I was following you--I am now! Jenni

  10. I saw U2 in concert on their Joshua Tree tour. I was 16 or so and in love. I wish I still my tshirt from that concert!!

    U2 is a band I grew up with, perhaps other generations Beatles or Rolling Stone.

    Enjoy U2 & the concert. They rock.

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