here is what you maybe didn't know. after having a month and a half off in between jobs, i went back on the road as a tour nanny. ("back" because this isn't my first tour.) this time, with love & the outcome and their two boys – M, 19 months, and Z, 5 weeks.
for the fall, we were out on the rise out of the dark tour, with danny gokey (promoting his new album, rise) and mandisa (promoting her new album, out of the dark). this tour consisted of four shows each weekend, from thursday to sunday, which meant we were out every wednesday night and back every monday morning.
i had the best intentions about writing weekly recaps, but here we are. all at once.
the places i went & some snapshots from along the way.
001/008: september 28 – october 1
raytown (kansas city), MO | allen (dallas), TX | sugarland (houston), TX | shreveport, LA
the first one. jodi's mom was with us this weekend. "us," being chris and jodi (love & the outcome, aka mom and dad), their tour manager, and me. they have their own mini-bus (pictured later), so this was our crew, on our own bus.
it was their first time on the road with two babies and a full-time nanny. Z was only five weeks old and other than a handful of hours with M beforehand, we hadn't spent much time together. (read: i was not one of his people yet.)
the weekend went pretty amazingly, especially considering the circumstances. it could've been a hot mess, but having jodi's mom as extra hands (and another familiar face for M) was what, i think, kept us afloat.
i got home from this weekend feeling incredibly thankful for this job, for the way our personalities and sense of humor seem to match up just right, for the adventure of touring, and for the way i had some consistency – same family, same routines – mixed with some daily change – new city, new venue. i didn't forget how much i loved being on the road, but i didn't realize how much i'd missed it.
002/008: october 5 – october 8
kingsport, TN | leesburg, FL | charleston, SC | (charlotte) greensboro, NC
the one with the fly date and the bonus stop in charlotte. M stayed home with jodi's mom for this run because we had a fly date that was separate (a previous commitment) from the tour, and it was decided that having M sit this one out would be best for everyone. it mostly felt weird not having him there (especially considering my job was, primarily, to be with him), but after flying to florida on friday morning for a show that night and sleeping a quick 3 hours before hopping on a 6am flight on saturday morning, i realized exactly why it was best to not have M in tow.
the whole weekend, i kept wondering about how it had all worked out – somewhat unintentionally – that i was on the road with Z while jodi's mom was at home with M. it would be a few weeks before i realized how helpful it was to have this time with him, alone. for the following five weeks i'd be on the road with M, my time with Z would be shared time. having a weekend where i learned how to sooth him, how he likes to be held, how to wear him in the ergo (i've never worn a baby before!) was so helpful in times when i needed to move quickly to give him what he wanted while also keeping up with M.
it feels strange to say, because M wasn't with us, but this weekend was one of my favorites. because we had our own mini-bus with the ability to travel on our own terms, we often stopped somewhere before arriving at the venue. on saturday morning, we went straight for the water in charleston, SC. each day, they'd try to have some "family time" or a day date, so these mornings usually meant i got to explore new cities by myself. in charleston, with a sleeing Z in tow, i got to walk up and down the most beautiful streets. it was so hot, even at the beginning of october, but i loved every minute of it.
on sunday morning, i woke up in a parking lot in charlotte. this was confusing for two reasons: one) we weren't supposed to be in charlotte, and two) we always stopped somewhere with a bathroom because the mini-bus doesn't have one. it turns out, chris surprised jodi by telling our bus driver to take us to 7th street public market because it's her favorite coffee spot (not just coffee). it was also a great surprise for me to wake up in the city where my people are. T and luca were able to drop what they were doing and come meet us for a couple hours. to this day, he still asks about my "friends."
003/008: october 12 – october 15
morgantown, WV | (detroit) township, MI | botkins, OH | (chicago) rockford, IL
the one where we went to chicago. i remember nothing else about this weekend except that we went to chicago. i've never been to chicago, but i've heard such great things. i only had a couple hours, but it was incredible. i drank intelligentsia coffee and took a thousand pictures of the bean and it didn't rain like it was supposed to. my friend tab is from that area, so i texted her my thoughts. as cold as it was, and as much as i hate being cold, i loved it.
the other thing about this weekend was that my roommate (also a nanny) had the weekend off and came out on the road with danny's older two kids. that was extra fun, for M and for me. it still makes me laugh to remember we brought two small children (because M was with his parents) to an antiques shop for fun, but it was right across the street and beggars (nannies) can't be choosers when it comes to finding activities for little kids on the road. in that last photo, i'm posing with the scarecrow in an attempt to show little danny how much fun it would be. (it didn't work.)
004/008: october 19 – october 22
texarkana, TX | lafayette, LA | austin, TX | springdale, AR
the one with voodoo doughnuts. again, with the new city and alone time (because family time) to explore. we always stop at a coffee shop first (houndstooth) and then part ways from there, meeting up after an hour or two. they went south to find a park, i went north to find doughnuts. y'all, i've heard about voodoo doughnuts but didn't know there was one in austin! obviously, i got the oreo.
the only other thing i remember about this weekend was that sunday was the worst day of the whole tour. the venue was a high school and our green room was a classroom. catering was in the smallest room (in a classroom and not a cafeteria) and i got suck in there after dinner, with both kids, as the tour gathered for nightly devotions. i won't list out all the ways the day went wrong, but i will say that touring with two kids, with both parents in the band, is challenging. some days you overcome those challenges and everyone is happy, and some days you make the wrong choices and almost everyone ends up crying at one point (or a lot of points, if you're M).
005/008: [i skipped tour and went to charlotte for my birthday.]
006/008: november 2 – november 5
akron, OH | fairfield, OH | richmond, KY | knoxville, TN
the one with the children's museum. some days you're across the street from an antique shop and some days you're across the street from a children's museum. yes and amen.
i can't remember exactly, but i think this was the weekend M started waving goodbye and blowing kisses to his parents as i stepped off the bus with him in the morning. up until that point, he always cried when i took him away. he was fine, but it's fun for no one when the transition includes tears.
in knoxville, we stopped at remedy coffee, next to makers donuts, and parked basically in a tree (literally having to move some branches to get in and out of the bus), next to the most beautiful cemetary i've ever seen. later, we stopped by target to browse the new hearth & hand section. because, priorities.
007/008: november 9 – november 12
paducah, KY | grove city (columbus), OH | bensalem (philadelphia), PA | mcmurray (pittsburgh), PA
the one with the tiny donuts. i can't remember anything about this weekend, except the donut shop (peace, love, and little donuts) had tiny donuts. i don't even remember what coffee shop that was. these are things you think you will just always remember (especially because you took a photo of the coffee!) so you don't write them down. but then you forget because that's how life works.
also, including that nice selfie to document what it looks like to get up in the middle of the night, put on layers and a scarf and shoes, hop off the bus, and to run into a gas station bathroom to pee. tour life is not glamorous, y'all. (also documenting to compare/contrast with the bathroom selfies i took while on tour – not in the middle of the night – with drew and ellie holcomb in 2013.)
008/008: november 16 – november 19
richmond, VA | salisbury, MD | (washington, DC) woodbridge, VA | bel air, MD
the one with the capitol. our last weekend of the fall tour, and this was the first weekend i truly never knew where i was. we kept switching back and forth between maryland and virginia and, one morning, we were in d.c. it was a great last weekend, but i think we were all ready to be home. M kept his blanket and paci on him at all times, instead of just when he slept, and i didn't blame him for clinging to his comfort things. i wanted mine too.
the only other time i went to d.c. was on the getty christmas tour and i did not leave the venue the entire day. it rained, but they'd also just done all the touristy things on their fall tour so it wasn't a priority. plus, we were not within walking distance. i was thrilled, this time, that they wanted to walk a block or two to the capitol building, where you can also see the washington monument from afar. on our way back, we were in a hurry, but we stopped in to the library of congress to use the bathroom. literally, we waited in line and went through metal detectors and it was the most i've ever done for a bathroom. but it was neat to at least walk through there (obviously thinking about national treasure the whole time).
also, artifact coffee. i remember that one.
while it was still the fall tour, some places were setting up for christmas. we saw a few trees with lights ("ights!" M always pointed them out) and shiny ornaments that, thankfully, he would only touch with his pointer finger. and Z, every night without fail, he would start out fussy (because mama was on stage when he felt like eating), but i would wear him and he would eventually fall asleep as long as i kept bouncing. and every night, i would be thankful for that second weekend of tour, when i learned how to do that.
and then, that was it. just in time for thanksgiving. cheers to you if you've made it this far.