Fangirling in the age of parenting

by | Mar 1, 2021 | Backstreet Boys, Feelings, Guest Blogger, Personal

If you’ve been around the Backstreet block for awhile, you’ve probably experienced the many versions of Backstreet fangirl that most fandoms are made of.

If you’re like me, you’ve gone through your own transformation, taking on the role of some of these at different times throughout the years. I’ve personally been “THAT” fan-screaming, crying, unable to control myself when they are breathing the same air that I am breathing.

As I’ve grown up, I’ve morphed more into the composed fan, somewhat professional, keeping my shrieks internal, trying desperately to just enjoy the experience rather than worry about every single thing that may or may not happen.

Mostly, I fall in the middle, throwing a few screams or shouts out during shows, maybe a verbal jab here or there if the opportunity arises during an event when I have been lucky to have closer access, but always hoping for more time, a picture, a hug.

But there’s a new look I’ve taken on the last few years. Just as the boys have grown and matured, so too have many of their fans. Those of us that have been around the fandom for any length of time have no doubted had changes in our lifestyles, our families, and in ourselves. For me, those changes mean that now I am not only a fangirl, but I’m a fangirling mom, and this has presented new and interesting circumstances that my Millennium concert going pre-teen self would never have dreamed of.

Of course, there are drawbacks.

There have been plenty of times when I have had an opportunity to participate in an event, but I have had to do the responsible thing (which goes against all of my fangirl instincts) and decline because I am a parent and have to consider my kids.

I’ve missed out on movie screenings and solo events where the chances of time with the boys is much higher than at a concert or group event. I’ve enviously read blog posts about fans who have been able to attend multiple shows or tv appearances, living vicariously through them. But there are also some great things that go along with simultaneously being a Backstreet Boys fangirl and parent.

In case you hadn’t heard, patenting is hard. It’s the hardest job I’ve ever had and undoubtedly, the hardest I’ll ever take on. But having the Backstreet Boys music available to me, something that has always had a calming influence, (although there have certainly been those times when the music has also caused my heart to race as if I had just run a marathon), has provided me with an escape when my kids are not my favorite people in the world.

When my 1-year-old is screaming at the top of her lungs while I’m driving, and I have tried every single thing in my bag of tricks to figure out how to calm her down to no avail, turning up the Backstreet Boys music helps me de-escalate enough to retry all those tricks again (and who knows, sometimes it was the first one that didn’t work that works this time!).

And sometimes, if I’m lucky, just the first few bars of a song like Undone or Incomplete is enough to stop the screaming.

Along with those tough moments, there are also some amazing and memorable times that I try to capture so that I can remember them for years to come.

Having been a Backstreet Boys fan for the last 24 years of my life, there are so many memories I have that are special to me that include the boys in some way, shape, or form.

From my first concert that I was allowed to attend with just friends (Backstreet Boys ’97!) to stumbling upon a completely unplanned and unexpected picture opportunity after a IAWLT concert, to sharing the likes (and dislikes) about the boys with some of the best friends I’ve had on late night calls, road trips, and sleepovers, these boys have held so much of my past.

Now, there is a new dimension added to this because I get to watch and experience some of these things with my own children, starting from before they were even born.

From cruisin’ with the boys with a pregnant belly, Kevin (drunk as hell) going on about how being a parent is the most beautiful thing in the world, Howie wishing me and my unborn child well, AJ actually touching my baby belly, Brian cooing at me while signing a onesie for my baby, my pregnant belly feeling the bass from the stage at a Nick and Knight show, and wearing a “Future BSB fan” shirt while pregnant with my newest to a Vegas show, these moments will always stick out to me.

Even more precious than those are the moments I’ve experienced watching my children learn about the boys and show me how much they love and enjoy them too.  My 5 year old has an eclectic musical taste, but he will always drop everything to dance and sing along to “Larger Than Life” and “Everybody”.

Every time his aunt comes to visit, he recreates the epic dance scene from the “Chances” music video, running up to her so that she can pick him up and twirl her around during the song and he is so infatuated with the music and the experience. For my 1-year-old, her favorite has always been “Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of,” which was also an early favorite of my 5-year-old because I sing it to them both every night. I will never forget when my older child started singing it with me. Those words have such meaning as a parent, and singing them to my child, and watching him sing them back to me, is one of the best feelings as a fan, and as a parent.

Having dance parties to classic Backstreet Boys songs that are decades older than my kids, and introducing them to new Backstreet Boys music has been a highlight of my parenting journey so far.

Before this pandemic hit, my son and I had big plans.

My then 4-year-old was going to his first real big concert with me (outside of my belly). I have fortunately been able to experience many Backstreet Boys shows from 1997’s Backstreet Boys concert all the way to the 2019 DNA tour.

And every time I’ve gone, I’ve been able to share the experience with my Backstreet girlfriends. But never have I been able to watch the show through my son’s eyes. Although he has seen clips from YouTube, those that have been fortunate enough to see a Backstreet Boys show in person know, there is no comparison.

Although the pandemic stole that from us for the time being, we are anxiously awaiting the day when live entertainment resumes. And when it does, my son and I will be there. I will be there to watch the experience through his eyes, to live that with him, enjoying one of my oldest loves, Backstreet Boys music, with my own child who has shown how much he loves it too.

Having common interests with our kids is not always easy to come by. Being able to share things like my love for the Backstreet Boys with my kids has been a dream come true and it has added so much to the value of these experiences.

To share something I love so much, that has gotten me through tough times, that has bonded me with the best people in my life, and that has meant so much to me for almost 25 years with my kids and to watch them enjoy it too is indescribable.

Sure there are times when parenting makes it harder to fangirl, but the positives of it make it all the more worth it. And I’m so thankful to have the Backstreet Boys music to share with them. Because fangirling isn’t just a thing we do, it’s an experience, and one I can’t wait to share more fully with my own children.

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