This is All Josh Groban’s Fault

Posted by:
Susan Rooke
December 7, 2017

I love Halloween and I love Thanksgiving. Those are great holidays, celebrating, in my view, mostly the simple joy of the experience. They don’t come nearly so burdened with unrealistic expectations of the perfect family moment, the ideal gift. Just good company, yummy nibblies and mutant gourds.

Most years, I enjoy Christmas too. Just last year I wrote that observing Christmas in an empty nest, deprived of The Daughter’s snarky, hilarious company (which these days she often shares with her in-laws) doesn’t make me as whiny as I’d thought it would. But this Christmas season has been different. I’ve been whining. A lot. (Just ask Glen.)

And it’s all because of Josh Groban.

I’ve written before that I’m always saddened when something triggers a memory of happy times Katie and I used to have together before she moved out on her own. The movie Legally Blonde, for instance, often makes me cry, because it reminds me of the fun mother/daughter excursions—the shopping, lunches, haircuts and pedicures—it inspired. (Just to be clear, we didn’t get matching haircuts.)

But I haven’t seen Legally Blonde recently, so I can’t blame that for my whininess this Christmas. What I blame instead is the concert Glen and I saw on TV a couple of nights ago. It featured a grand finale from Josh Groban, which triggered a memory. And of course I cried.

About twelve years ago when Katie was a senior in high school, a classmate and her mother offered us two tickets to a Josh Groban concert in San Antonio. Their plans had changed, and they knew that Glen, Katie and I were big Josh Groban fans. Would we be interested? Sparing only a moment’s thought for poor Glen’s feelings, or for the drive to San Antonio and back, I told Katie, “Sure, I’ll take you!”

And they were great tickets. Floor level, aisle seats, close to the stage, a large but comfortable venue. As we sat chatting with another mother/daughter pair next to us (who were just as excited as we were), I lamented aloud that I wished I’d brought a sign to hold up when Josh took the stage: I’D MAKE A GREAT MOTHER-IN-LAW! Then the opening act came on: Chris Botti. Well. The icing was on the cake. That night was cemented in our memories forever.

A couple of years later, The Daughter moved out of the nest. And ever since, though I always enjoy listening to Chris Botti’s jazz trumpet, hearing Josh Groban’s magnificent voice makes me forlorn. It brings on a sad nostalgia for the fun we had at that concert twelve years ago.

As I learned the other night, hearing him sing during the holiday season is much, much worse. After the TV concert was over, Glen cued up more of Josh on the stereo as I sank deeper and deeper into melancholy. I cast a gloomy look around the house and saw that we had no Christmas tree, no lights, no ribbons or ornaments, nothing that sparkled or glittered or flashed. In fact, I realized—getting whinier by the moment—we’d had no Christmas decorations for five years. We stopped decking the halls when we put our old house on the market. All to avoid distracting potential buyers, or making the house seem cramped. I used to have so much fun with it, especially on the dining table. At Halloween:

At Thanksgiving:

At Christmas:

But now? “I haven’t even done a tablescape!” I exclaimed to Glen in despair. “Because everything I used to decorate with is still in boxes in the garage!” (That’s right. We moved into our “forever home” 9 ½ months ago, and the garage is still full of boxes to unpack. Mea maxima culpa. I can’t blame Josh Groban for that one.)

Glen, meanwhile, was fiddling with his phone, paying no attention to my wretchedness. Not much, anyway, because he was busy finding us a Christmas tree on Amazon. It didn’t take him more than thirty minutes, and it’ll be delivered by the time you read this.

After I finished being weepy over how sweet and thoughtful he is, I realized I was a touch disgruntled. It was disconcerting to have my whining doused so efficiently by Glen’s practical, man-of-action response. But December is young. I’ll bet I can find something else to whine about if I put my mind to it. For one thing, I haven’t found the box with the tree skirt or the ornaments yet. Or any of my tablescape materials. That’s good for an evening’s worth of whining, at least.

A footnote about that long-ago concert in San Antonio: We all know, of course, that Katie did not end up marrying Josh Groban. Possibly because I neglected to hold up a posterboard advertising my mad mother-in-law skills. That’s all for the best, though, because she married Wesley instead. Who happens to be the best son-in-law ever. And—the icing on the cake—he sings very well, too.

14 comments on “This is All Josh Groban’s Fault”

  1. I re-fall in love with your writing every time I read a bit of it, Susan. Love this homage to those moments advertised but never lived up to; to whininess. To the Glens and Wesleys. To not feeling like the only one... Looking forward to more of your 2017 tree pics. 🙂 Thanks for all you share; some of what you induce. <3
    claire vc

    1. Thank you, Claire! Hear hear, to the Glens and the Wesleys AND the Franks! And I'm happy I decided to write about my whininess, because that seems to have banished it. Fingers crossed it's gone for good! Now if I can just find my tablescape materials . . . <3

    1. Brain coin – – I like that, Claire! As it turns out I’m still whining, but now I’m not blaming Josh Groban. I’m blaming Amazon. They sent us some piece of plastic office cord corral thing instead of the Christmas tree!

  2. Susan, whining aside, your frequent, loving references to family events are a wonderul part of the fabric of your writing. Happy holidays to you all. John

  3. Dangit, Woman. You made me cry too! Someday I'll be home for Christmas again, and we can listen to Josh together! You and Daddy need to get your butts up here ASAP. Love, love!

    1. Darling, I can’t tell you how much I look forward to the day that we can all listen to Josh together again! And we can’t wait to see y’all in the new year! Love, love too!

  4. What a beautiful memory! Have fun discovering all the mystery treasures hiding in all those boxes. Can't wait to see your tree, up and decorated.

    1. Thank you, Diana! And frankly, I can’t wait either. Looks like next Tuesday now. Amazon sent some plastic wire channeler thing for corralling cords along baseboards and walls. Christmas tree? Hardly!

  5. Thanks for this wonderfully written and heart-felt blog!

    Whine all you want. I did it, too. It's your right as a mother! So is sharing things with Katie that will be special to both of you forever.

    Candice, Caroline, and I watched Steve Martin and John Candy in "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" every Thanksgiving.

    1. Oh, how wonderful, Salina! That's like Katie's and my Nightmare Before Christmas tradition. I'm so happy to know you, and to know that as mothers, we will always have these moments in common! <3

  6. I can't claim Josh Groban's heavenly pipes, but I can claim that it's always a wonderful holiday of any sort with you, Glen, and Katie. I will always be thankful I am now part of them.

    With or without your beautiful tablescapes. 🙂

  7. We are just as thankful to have you with us, Wesley dear! And I finally did a tablescape. It's lame-o, but all I could throw together this year. I'll do better next year!


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