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I’m a huge Dave Matthews Band fan. For the last five years, their summer concert has one of the highlights of my year, and my absolute favourite date night with Dean.

This year, however, Dean had the idea to bring Ethan and Audra with us. My first thought was: “What?! Bring our kids on OUR date night?!”, quickly followed by: “That’s a lot of money to spend on kids – what if they’re too young to enjoy it?”, and underlying it all: “What if Audra gets into one of her moods and fusses the entire time?” (This was actually my biggest concern – and not an unfounded one.) Her mercurial personality has been a test to me on many family outings. I readily recall my birthday trip to the Toronto Aquarium – as well as our catamaran trip in Cuba – as being two great experiences that were tinged with moments of great drama from her. So, seeing as how our annual concert is one of my favourite, most-fun outings, I was worried that she might bring that same drama to the night.

I am so glad to say that I was wrong.

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The kids’ excitement en route to the show

The kids were fantastic. Our seats were great: being only one row back from the front of our section – and with people who sat the entire concert in front of us – the view we had was perfect.

The music was amazing. But it always is.

I’m so glad that I was wrong. Having our kids with us added wonderfully to the experience, and it’s one I’m so grateful that we could give to them.

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See, for me, the concert is about so much more than just the music. Every year, it’s an experience of watching masters at play. Surrounded by music, with my whole body vibrating with it, I am filled with joy and appreciation at the level of musical mastery and the band’s obvious love of performing. They put everything into every show. The looks on their faces tells it all. They are having a blast – and so are we.

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Every time I go, I am reminded of the deep-rooted joy that comes from playing life full out. No matter what your ‘genius’ is – giving it your all, having fun, and becoming a master in your area of expertise.

Every time I looked over at our kids – dancing, singing and laughing – I realized that we were giving them so much more than just a concert. It was an awesome and fun lesson witnessing what happens when you put your heart into what you love.

Yup, Dean was right. Bringing our kids to a Dave Matthews Band concert was a great idea. Like I’ve said before – I’d rather buy experiences than things. Without a doubt, this was one of the best family experiences yet.

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