Honest Motherhood: Manchester with Maia

I took my nine year old to Manchester to see Lizzo last weekend. (Lizzo, the American singer, rapper and flutist.) It was a pre-30th-Birthday present from my cousins, who we went with.
3 hours and 47 glorious minutes on the train, I was delighted to have some time to simply sit, with nowhere to be. No school run, no meal prep, no taking the car back to the garage because the engine warning light has come on again. My sole role for this journey was to exist as a passenger. I planned to stare out of the window, possibly read. Maia had other ideas.
“Shall we play Dobble?” 
“In a minute darling..” I say, eyes closed, more relaxed than I’ve been in weeks. Sitting down with no immediate obligations often elicits this response.
“This is meant to be our quality time together!”

This was true. There’d been several moments leading up to this weekend where I’d promised her she’d have me all to herself. And not the unconscious me.
“Dobble it is..”.

I foolishly didn’t reserve seats which meant sitting in reserved ones and praying their occupants didn’t arrive. Thankfully, we were only booted out once.

We met my cousin Rachel and checked into our hotel. This is not a sentence I get to say very often. I can’t remember the last time I stayed in a hotel and even exploring the bar and gym we wouldn’t be making use of felt like a luxury.
Rachel is like sunshine in human-form. Her and Maia ran up and down the corridors of floor 18, racing and dancing and practicing their moves for Lizzo. We did not befriend the occupants of our neighbouring rooms.

After an obligatory souvenir purchase (not a tourist until you’ve bought a magnet) we met up with my cousin’s husband Steve and went for dinner in the Northern Quarter before heading to the arena.
Unfortunately as we were booking concert tickets, neither Rachel nor I were able to secure the four seats we needed to all sit together. So we sat separately. Maia and I on one side of the arena, Rachel and her husband on the other. I momentarily searched for her pink coat among a fuzzy blur dotted with other pink coats, but it was no good. I waved wildly into the void. We had a short phone call trying to describe where we each were. Neither of us could hear a thing. We gave up trying.

Lizzo was incredible. I made approximately 43 videos of her. We loved every moment. At one point she closed her eyes and cried. Thousands of people chanting your name will do that.
As we were leaving, we noticed her tour bus and a security guard stood behind the gate.
“This is where she comes out!” said Rachel.
“She could be ten minutes, or they’ll have an after party and it’ll be 3am..” The security guard said, smiling.
Two other hopeful fans stood by the gate, committed to the possibility of another glimpse of their idol. It was cold and wet so we opted for bed and walked back to the hotel in the rain, still buzzing from the electric arena atmosphere.

The following morning we went for brunch and wandered straight into the filming of a scene for BBC series “Boiling Point” on the road outside the cafe. “Wait!”A crew member shouted as we opened the door to leave. We stood inside, smiling like maniacs through the glass as they got their shot. Fingers crossed we make the final edit.


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