One of my favorite songs is called, Murder in the City, by the Avett Brothers. Based on the title some are put off immediately and when I call the song sweet and impactful, they are perplexed. Others will just look at me and say, “Yeah Christun, for you that makes sense….” Either way the first time I listened to the lyrics was ironically also the first time I had actually heard of the band; some friends had a couple extra tickets and wanted to know if Ryan and I would like to go. Three Mango White Claws in, beautiful outdoor Arkansas Music Pavilion setting, perfect 74-degree weather, this song comes on and it has both Ryan and I dropping the waterworks worse than me getting bested by the double end bag.
The Avett Brothers became a thing in our family with a goal of mine to get all nine of our kids to go to a concert together. A couple weeks ago during an evening monsoon we met said goal. Our oldest two daughters are grown, living in other towns, and now have children of their own so getting to do a family event like this takes major planning especially now that one has moved a few hours away. We made it happen and it was an unforgettable night. We were drenched, but I had brought large trash bags for the kids because #concertplasticisexpensive. Ironically my daughter Amy took the girls to the bathroom and a man stopped her asking her where she got the kids ponchos. She replied with, “Uhm, they are trash bags.” So yeah, we make mass amounts of children and redneck stylin look good.
Our family household dynamics change a lot. And I mean, A LOT. When we moved to Missouri five years ago both our oldest girls had gotten married, moved out, and it was down to just the younger four while we homesteaded our property. We then found there were two more siblings that would be coming to us, an infant and a three-year-old thus we went back up to six under 14 in the home. That at the time seemed doable in my mind, and though it was hard building our house and managing that many, we made it work. I still took them all grocery shopping with me despite the looks of, “Geez lady, are you trying to overpopulate the world?”
However, the arrival of Rose a couple years later made something that was manageable somehow not anymore. I started thinking more of my ability to keep that many safe in an event of an attack, active shooter, attempted abduction, etc. I had a special needs older son and then like hella kids to track in public. I hit overwhelmed with no warning. Where before I would almost look at someone defiantly as they gawked at my brood in public, suddenly the stares were draining. We had the buddy system, we talked constantly of safety, but very quickly started to hermit on ourselves because it just took too much out of me.
This actually became a good thing because we started a more divide and conquer way of life and it gave such a large group of kids more one on one time with mom or dad. We became well known for our thousand crate pick-up orders at our local Wal-Mart and did drive throughs more often. We were meeting the needs in our home differently than how we would have in the past, but for the better part of a year I probably did not venture off the property with all the youngest seven in tow. Out of all my adjustments to kid dynamics in my home, Rose was the hardest, but eventually we got our stride back.
When we move about in public my number one job is to protect. These are my cubs; you come near them with the intent to harm and I will do what it takes (most likely eat your face off and then sharpen my teeth on your skull) to eliminate a threat. With the sheer number in my brood, I have to be more technical and engage as a unit with the older kids in order to be safe. Each person has a buddy, according to their age, they are responsible for when out and about, and from there we roll. A few months ago I did an article on teaching your children safety measures when on outings. Article here. This time I want to build on that when attending large events like fairs and concerts.
The plan was to meet Chelsea and Amy at the Walmart AMP, so we took the younger seven to dinner prior. While eating we went over our normal talk/reminders of who was whose buddy for the night and protector mode for the older ones, Lili with Zetta, Gratton, Lila and Cole as a group, Henry with Mom, and Rose with Dad. When walking through the crowd you must be by, or if younger, holding the hand of your person. We talked about safe people, police officers, security guards, women with children, etc. We discussed finding hiding spots if needed. For this concert we went over and took a few extra steps to help with the safety of our family.
What is important with kids is to not overload them. I don’t want them paranoid, they wouldn’t enjoy the concert that way. Hell, I don’t want to be paranoid. I want to sob happily and gratefully listening to that tearjerker song while I look lovingly at my trash bag covered kids. We run small drills all the time as games in public so going to a concert only added a couple smaller tweaks in case of an emergency. They already understand protector mode and buddy system and we are basically a large crowd in and of itself. They already like to show me hiding places and point out cars that are on in the parking lot. We do the reps in everyday life as a game so that it is still very simple when trying to be prepared for a larger event. Too many plans create confusion in adults, let alone children.
Operation “Take All the Erwin Kids to a Concert,” was a success. They danced and laughed and honestly, I think sweet Rose had the most fun entertaining everyone around her with her mad three-year-old social skills. They got to spend the precious time needed with their older siblings and I got to cry in wonderment yet again at my beautiful babies, all nine of them as they destroy a bag of kettle corn like zombies. Freaking phenomenal. “Always remember there was nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name.” Avett Brothers- Murder in The City
#hellakids #adoptionstories #drillingwithkids #familysafety #avettbrothers #murderinthecity #trashbagsforthewin #manueveringmybuffaloherd #momofnine #buddysystem #theyaremyzombies
Author- Christun Erwin
"Thank you for your words. They make an impact and its important that, human to human, woman to woman, mother to mother... you know that you make a difference, even to those you never knew your words" -Krystal