Rx: Take 'The Spoons' and stir

















Last weekend my younger brother Andrew (left) was in town. He bought my older brother Ian (centre) and me tickets to see one of his favourite bands from university days -- The Spoons.

My kids couldn't believe it when I announced that I was going to see a live band. I never do anything cool and I never stay out late.

Off we went to The Revival Bar in a trendy part of Toronto's little Italy: I'm 48, my younger brother is 45 and Ian is 51. We could hardly be called hipsters. It was Friday night and I was in my usual end-of-week stress state (when worries about my son with disabilities tend to blossom).

The Revival was a massive hall where the sold-out crowd stood shoulder to shoulder. We got there early and snagged the only table in the room (see above).

I couldn't remember the Spoons, who were big in Canada in the 80s, and one of my daughters says I can't dance. So I had doubts about how things were going to go.

Two hours later the place was packed. I was pressed up against our lone table, bopping up and down on the spot, so as not to knock the women behind us: they'd clambered up on the built-in bench we were sitting on to dance. The room was electric with diehard Spoons fans -- about the same age as us or older.

The band was brilliant. The lead singer rocked. I remembered many songs. I felt young again, like I was back at university, watching a band at the pub. I sipped my brother's rum and coke -- "I haven't had one of those for years," I said. The thoughts and worries that had ruled my mind dissipated. I clapped, I screamed, I hollered till my throat hurt. My older brother removed his hearing aid and put in an ear plug, while my younger brother placed his hands over his ears.

I was part of the deafening noise that brought the band back for an encore.

My brothers dropped me off at home, buoyant.

My first thought wasn't -- "I'm so exhausted, I must get some sleep" -- but "Let's look up The Spoons online" and "Wait till my kids hear that I made it past midnight!" I grabbed a big chocolate bar from one of my daughter's fundraising boxes and settled in at the computer.

I was surprised at how relaxed I felt, how refreshed. I remembered Donna Thomson, author of The Four Walls of My Freedom, talking about the value of dance for relieving stress. She told me she takes a Zumba class most days for that reason.

I've never had a good answer when other parents of kids with disabilities ask me what I do for stress. Now I have one.

I made a mental note: I must do this again. Soon.