Recently I went to my very first Memphis Tigers football game. I’m not a fan of football but some friends had good seats, and my husband and I were desperate for a night out. Two years ago if you had asked me what I thought of the Memphis Tigers I would have said, “Memphis has a football team?”
I’ve always been a homebody, happy to stay on the couch with a book or the tv, uninterested in trying new things. New things are scary. And probably boring anyway. And it’s Memphis. There’s nothing cool here unless you’re a tourist, right?
Since having my daughter I learned there’s a huge difference between choosing to sit at home all day and having to sit at home all day. I'm not the kind of mother who could easily strap my infant to my back and go about my life like before. I started going stir-crazy in my house while Facebook helpfully alerted me to all the fun events my friends were attending. Pre-motherhood, I would have written those things off without a second thought, but now I see wine tastings, fundraisers, and 5Ks, and I think, “I wish I could go do that!”
As newish parents, my husband and I finally understand the necessity of the date night, so when the golden opportunity of getting a babysitter comes along, we’re a lot more willing to try something new. And as it turns out, Memphis is way more awesome than I realized!
There are museums, free concerts at the Levitt Shell, tons of breweries, an arcade for grown ups, and so much great food. Before, I always preferred to stick with the same handful of places, but I have tried more new local restaurants in the past two years than the past ten years combined!
I also figured out quickly that I could not keep going on the same walks through my neighborhood day after day. My daughter needed a change of scenery every once in awhile too, and that’s also led us to new places. When we took her to The Art Project it was the first time we’d really paid attention to Overton Square, and we were surprised at how many neat things there were to do there. (My husband was thrilled to see the cornhole boards and officially challenges anyone reading this to a game.) And while I may have once mocked the idea of our iconic Pyramid becoming a giant sporting goods store, it’s actually a fun way to spend an afternoon with a kid.
As a native Memphian It’s a little embarrassing that it’s taken me this long to really see what the city has to offer. But for the first time in my life, I’m really excited to explore it and to cultivate in my daughter the kind of civic pride I only recently started to feel. The older she gets, the more opportunities we’ll have to appreciate Memphis together.
This kid is showing me sides of Memphis I’ve never seen, and I can’t wait to see where she takes me next.