Dissecting My Daughter’s Favorite Music

For the most part, my younger daughter listens to music that could almost be considered wholesome. She favors One Direction, Five Seconds of Summer, and Little Mix. Little Mix in particular writes girl-power songs that even I find inspiring. She likes a lot of other popular songs, and particularly favors Ed Sheerhan. I like his songs too, very catchy, but I don’t always like the subject matter.

Lately, my daughter has been trying to improve my musical literacy by playing songs while we are in the car and quizzing me on the singer or band. I’m not very good at it, easily mixing up bands, new and old. She’s always amazed when songs from my own teenager-hood come on and I not only know the artist, but all the words as well.  It’s a very narrow band of time over which I have this talent and it seems there are far more bands now than then.

The other day a song was on the radio with a refrain that went something like, “let’s get high” sung over and over. We looked at each other and rolled our eyes. It is my job to point out the inappropriateness of some lyrics, but these were just too obvious. She advised me that I often blew her mind, complete with hand gestures around her head to show said mind blowing open to the obvious, with my succinct descriptions of songs. Remember, Mom, when you told me that A Team was about drugs and prostitution? Yes, I do, and also the girl freezing to death. Tough message.

We recounted how I didn’t care for Stay With Me  by Sam Smith because it’s about one night stands and I get annoyed with myself for singing along to Rude by MAGIC! (what is with all the punctuation in band names, anyway?) because it objectifies women (I know, it’s “old-fashioned”). I listen to the music and enjoy it. I even sing along. There are many talented artists singing about tough subjects, but some are just self-indulgent. Regardless, as long as I get the opportunity to teach a few life lessons along the way, I’m copacetic.

So, I told her, well, then there’s that song about the guy giving a girl a scar. What song she asked? The one where he says if she feels like falling down, he’ll carry her home. Well, she informed me, there’s nothing about a scar in that song, which by the way is We Are Young by FUN. Oh, yeah, I knew that. She started to sing and when she got to “asking about a scar” she looked at me wide-eyed. Then she got to “I know I gave it to you months ago”…and, well, mind blown.

I am a creature of habit…I listen to the same radio station all the time, but when my daughter is in the car, we listen to a variety of stations. When that’s not enough variety, my daughter plays songs from her iPhone over the car sound system through a bluetooth connection. She’s expanding my musical tastes and I’m making sure that she actually listens to the lyrics. It’s a true partnership. The best part is that when I drop her off somewhere, she’s sure to switch the music back to my station before getting out of the car.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and those rare moments when mom and daughter can simultaneously belt out the latest hit along with the radio!


The “Mom” Playlist

The day started out like any other lazy Sunday, until the power abruptly went out. It was a calm, sunny day today, so no obvious reason for it to go out. There were storms a couple of days ago that knocked out power in hundreds of thousands of homes, though, so I wasn’t hopeful of a quick fix. I could tell that the neighbors lost power too.

Meanwhile, my daughter was missing one of her middle school friends and asked if I’d drive her to the friend’s to spend the day and then come back and pick her up several hours later. I had no real plans, so I agreed. Her friend lives about a half hour away, it was an hour of my time to take her. She took her iPad with her to charge it, even though it was already 97% charged…she has to have it for school and  isn’t allowed to charge it there.

Back at home, I did something I haven’t indulged much in lately…I read a book. No electricity was required and the sun provided lots of natural light. I was happy that I’d done all of the laundry yesterday, so no worries about the work/school week…surely the power would be back on soon enough. Five hours into it, however, I thought I should call the electric company and find out when the power would be back on. I learned a thing or two. First of all, no one had called in the power outage in my neighborhood…no one. Second, the electric company knew about the outage and its likely cause (a fuse). When the power came on two hours later, I learned a third thing…they didn’t bother with the outage until someone complained.

I got through the book, then it was time to pick up my daughter. I drove out to get her and then stayed for a few minutes to admire the videos the girls had made on their phones. We were about five miles on the way toward home, when my daughter got a text from her friend…she’d left her iPad behind. At this point, my happy nature took a turn for the grumpy. As I found a turnaround and headed back to her friend’s, I complained about how I didn’t like spending all of my free time in the car so that she could enjoy a visit with her friend, and forgetting her iPad meant that I was spending well over two hours all together.

Just then, Neon Lights by Demi Levato came on the radio and I was instantly a bit happier. I smiled and started singing along. Then I got suspicious…I asked her if she had put the song on because she knew I liked it and she said yes. Then, I got annoyed and said I didn’t appreciate being manipulated. She explained to me that she played it because she knew I was upset, not at her, but at the situation, and she wanted me to feel better. That was when I learned that she has a playlist called “Mom”.

There are only three songs on “Mom”. Neon Lights is oneThe second one is Lego House by Ed Sheeren. These two songs I’ve heard many times because my daughter plays them a lot. They are not in any playlist of my own, but if I started a playlist of songs my daughter plays that I like, they’d be on it. The third song turned out to be Build a Bird House In Your Soul by They Might Be Giants. This is a song that I was trying to get her to remember recently. I told her I liked it and my radio station used to play it a lot, but not anymore. She couldn’t recall it, so she downloaded it. Then she remembered it and apparently, with no where else to place it, she put it in the “Mom” playlist.

So, there I am. I’m not sure if I want “mom” to expand and take on more of a true reflection of me, or if I’d rather see how it grows organically. I’m thinking the latter is more interesting.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and the knowledge that the journey doesn’t always take you where you plan to go, but a good playlist can make any journey more enjoyable!

Going Back To High School–Parent Night

My younger daughter started high school two and a half weeks ago and it’s time for Parent Night, known in other schools as curriculum night. My other daughter graduated from the same school and I never once made it to Parent Night. I think that when she was a Freshman, I was just clueless and missed it. The next two years, her dad agreed to cover it, but he ended up bailing out due to traffic or some other excuse. Her Senior year I was all set to go when I thought, why? It seemed too late to get in on the plan. But with my youngest, I want to start off doing all the right stuff…so I went.

After a long day of work, I went home and made sure my kids had dinner before leaving for the half-hour trip to my daughter’s school. At Eight Mile (yeah, *that* eight mile), the skies opened up and the rain came crashing down. I continued on. The traffic grew worse, likely the other parents heading to the school through storm and road work. I arrived just in time and hurried to my daughter’s advisor group.

My daughter, in a burst of exuberance (her normal state) had not only printed out a map of her school with hand-written notes about where all her classes were, but had printed maps to get me from each class to the nimageext, expecting much (or little?) of me. In the end, the one, overall, map was all I needed. After all, I am an engineer…map-reading skills kind of come with the territory.

I worked my way through her schedule. She goes to an independent, all-girls, Catholic, college prep school. We had little time between classes and only ten minutes per class. My daughter knows several of her classmates, girls from several spheres of her life, and I *kind of* know their parents. So, as much as I tried to absorb her schedule and get to know her teachers, I was looking around for familiar faces just like a Freshman going to an all new high school.

I started in advisor group. There I learned that the girls have a check-in and check-out point. We waited a bit longer there as the thunderstorms had knocked out a major traffic light and delayed many parents. I looked around at the parents, one smiled and I smiled back. I didn’t know anyone there. When it was time to go to first hour, I checked my map and saw that I had to high-tail it all the way to the other end of the school to the gym. At the gym, I found one of my carpool families. We didn’t know the other woman in our carpool, but mnaged to find her and introduced ourselves. We thanked one another profusely…the carpool is saving our sanity.

For second hour I only had to cross the lobby and find the drama studio. I imagined that my daughter would enjoy her Acting 101 class as she’s done quite a lot of acting over the last several years.  The teacher was enthusiastic, an alumnae of the school, and talked about getting the girls to unzip themselves and step out into a new self. She wants to help them past that awkwardness. I didn’t think my daughter needed that, but later she told me that it is awkward…doing improv and acting exercises is not the same, she tells me, as getting a script and working on a play.

Third hour came fast and this time I had an even longer walk. All the way to the other end of the school and beyond…down a long hallway and down into the basement…way off the map. I was expecting a dreary room, but instead was delighted to find a wall of glass at the back of the room which looked out onto a peaceful wetlands scene. Too bad only the teacher gets to face it. I only had to backtrack halfway through the school to get to my fourth hour class, and was glad fifth hour was right next door. But just as fourth hour ended, an assembly was called and off I went to the auditorium for some pep speeches.

I made it through the rest of the “day” and even saw one of my own friends, one whom I rarely see…just to smile, clutch hands, and then be pulled apart by the parents streaming by. Wow, school is so stressful! Fortunately for me, my daughter is comfortable in this environment. She is thriving and  I couldn’t be happier…despite the  carpool/commute.

Find the Joy in the Journey…Sometimes the Joy is in helping a loved one find the perfect start to her own Journey!


Children and Neverland

By day four of basketball nationals, I was ready to go home. I’d managed only one, short, run and that after a lot of falderal. My daughter’s team had won the first game in the first two days and followed that with losses. The third day, they lost both games. They were set up to play in the actual playoffs in one of the first games at 9 a.m. this morning. I was happy about that as it meant that we could probably head home early. I didn’t mean to jinx things, I was just being realistic.

As it turned out, they played a really aggressive team and ended up tied. Overtime was a tight 2-minutes of very suspenseful playing and my daughter’s team lost by a single point in the last few seconds. I was sorry that the girls lost, but felt very good about how well they’d played. I couldn’t help but secretly relax given that my daughter was now done with summer softball and also, finally, done with basketball. I tried not to think of the fact that her high school sports career would be ramping up imminently.

With a small break and time to think while driving home, I dreamt of time that I could spend independently. I’m a mom. I’m a single mom…free time is an oxymoron. I have none. Still…what might this mean to me. What it ultimately meant to me was driving up to the state college with my son where he’s had an apartment for the last year. So, as I drove home, I knew that not only this Saturday was spoken for by my younger daughter, but that Sunday was spoken for by my son. Then, back to work on Monday.

Every stage of life is transitory. What does that mean for the relationships we have with our kids? I’m in a weird place with my son, where he is now a boomerang kid without the college degree. We’ve agreed that he’ll take a semester off and work, so that he can save up money for school and take care of some personal business at home before venturing off to a more independent life once again. This is not perfect and I get flack from some for not taking a harder line, but I know my kid. I know he needs a few months under my wing to heal, to get to a steady place in his life, and to plan for the future.

My older daughter, by dint of personality and circumstances has become very independent before she’s really ready to want that. She told me recently that she hadn’t wanted to turn 18. Well, she had almost a semester of college, living far from home, before hitting that milestone. I know she doesn’t want to shoulder the mantle of adulthood so soon, but on the other hand, she’s handling it with grit, determination, and a whole lot more grace than I did at that age.

My younger daughter has also taken on a more Peter Pan view of the world since her older siblings left for college. She used to want to do everything that they were doing even though they were five and seven years ahead of her in school. Now, she is happy to live in the moment, to finish middle school and head to high school. She wants those four years of high school to be her life, in the here and now…college and independent living are off on the horizon, so far away that it is a distraction to even think about it now.

So, I have a few more years…maybe eight or ten given the age of my youngest, to be a major presence in my children’s lives. I will relish that even as I try to spread my wings a bit wider and try to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

Find the Joy in the Journey…it is happening in the here and now.



Braces Off!

There’s little more exciting in a teen’s life than getting their braces removed, or as the orthodontist calls it, debanding. My younger daughter’s appointment was at 7:30 this morning and originally I planned to take her before work. Then I learned that we have to be in Indiana tonight by 6:30 so that her team can register for the AYBT Nationals. That meant leaving work around 3 p.m. Suddenly my workday had contracted to just five hours, so I decided to take another vacation day. Four days off for a basketball championship…the things we do for our kids!

It turned out to be a good thing that I took the day off because we were up early and busy until late at night. First things first, we headed for the orthodontist. Originally, the orthodontist’s office was only a few miles from home. Due to the multiple polar vortices this past winter, the office suffered structural damage that meant that every time it rained, the office flooded. Fortunately, the office was part of a network of orthodontists and an alternative location was secured. Unfortunately, this was 20 miles away and the highway between here and there  has been shut down for resurfacing.

The debanding, molding of her mouth, and creation of her retainers went smoothly. Soon I was gazing upon my lovely daughter and her newly dazzling smile.  After making a follow-up appointment, we headed for a car wash. I’d thrown the floor mats into the washer a few days prior, then let them air-dry. They came out like new. Now it was time to clean up the rest of the car to turn it in and pick up my new car. I’m having some buyers remorse, but it’s too late to change. I love my little, stick-shift car with manual locks and windows, but wanted a bigger car for the inevitable carpool for high school.

At the garage, I realized that just the night before I’d let my older daughter drive my car and she had not given me the key back. Dang. I had to go home for it. Upon return, I was told I shouldn’t have bothered…my key was only a $5 roadblock. I got my new car and it is replete with features, including push-button start. Now those key fobs are probably worth $100!

I contemplated going for a run, but I had too much to do before we left, including packing. We barely managed to get out on the road by 3:10. We got to Fort Wayne just in time. We checked into our hotel and then drove over to the Spiece Fieldhouse to check in. The truly frustrating thing was that the girls’ first game wasn’t until 7 p.m. the next night! Another vacation day wasted.

With the unusual prospect of free time stretching ahead of me, I reveled in having time to read. Time to read?  Priceless!  First on my list was The Dog Stars by Peter Heller. I tore through it and loved it. It is a dystopian novel, but unlike my recent dystopian reads, this was an adult novel versus a young adult novel. Next up, I started What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell. I’m enjoying it and looking forward to another non-fiction book, The Arsenal of Democracy by A. J. Baime about Detroit’s role in the outcome of WWII.

I find myself in a world where I can’t figure out a daily or even weekly balance…but maybe over all, it’s all copacetic! These days, I strive for a balanced life but settle for the big picture…Some weeks I run. Others, I read. Others, I write. At the end of the day, I just try to smile! Perhaps it is time to find a way, whether putting in new life braces or taking off old ones, of getting a better balance in my life day to day.

Find the Joy in the Journey…Time to come up with a better plan!



Forgetting the Jordans

Today was the last day of regular season AYBT basketball for my younger daughter. It was my turn to drive my daughter and two of her teammates. I arrived as planned at 8:00 to pick up the first girl and as planned at 8:10 for the second girl. We headed off for the tournament with a bit of time to spare. That turned out to be a good thing because when we got closer to the venue, there were road closures that cut us off and we had to find our way around. Even so, we rolled in at exactly 9 a.m. As we gathered our things to get out of the car my daughter looked around in bewilderment for the bag where she keeps her basketball shoes.

The shoes were an early birthday gift, Jordans. They were her pride and joy. When we bought them, the store had some on sale for $49 and I was dreaming of a good deal. I pointed them out to my daughter, but she dismissed them immediately because they weren’t in any color she wanted. Instead, she chose another pair at full price. I smiled and wished her a happy birthday as I paid for them. She’d been wearing them all season and at least she hadn’t outgrown them or lost them…she’d just left them at home. She asked if we could go back and get them, but that would have taken an hour and a half and her first game was in an hour. She was wearing a cheap pair of gym shoes, not particularly suitable for playing three forty-minute games, but they’d have to do.

We walked into the school and found ourselves to be the first there for the 10 a.m. game. There wasn’t time to go home for the shoes, but maybe I could buy her a cheap pair before game time. I pulled out my phone and looked up sporting goods stores. There was one only 5 miles away, so I offered to take my daughter to see if we could get her another pair of shoes. Her two friends wanted to come along, so we set off. As we arrived around 9:20 it dawned on me that the store wasn’t likely to be open so early on a Sunday…but they were.

imageMiraculously, we found a pair of men’s basketball shoes in her size on clearance for $20. With a sigh of relief, I bought the shoes and we headed back to the school. By that time, the coach was texting the girls to find out when they would arrive and I realized, belatedly, that I’d taken quite a risk. If we’d returned after 10, our team would have been down to only 4 players for the first game! The shoes are bright white, totally uncool. I’m hoping her feet are done growing and now she has a “good” pair and a back-up pair that we can keep in the trunk of the car.

This crazy summer season of summer-league softball and AYBT basketball is almost over. My daughter’s team won the softball championship on Friday and all the regular basketball tournaments are over. Next up, a trip to Indiana for the AYBT Nationals!

Find the Joy in the Journey…the right shoes, like the right tools, make the job easier!

Trying Out The Empty Nest

The other day my younger daughter went on her last school trip with her middle school class. They went white water rafting in West Virginia. She was all packed and ready to go and we left the house at 6:15 in the morning. At 6:30, we arrived and I got out to help her with her bags, although she didn’t really need it. I stood there staring at her and she smiled back at me, as if to reassure me. I hugged her and gave her a peck on the cheek, with tears forming in my eyes. What was wrong with me? I smiled at her again and left her with her teachers and classmates. The empty nest is heading down the tracks ready to knock me over. High school will come and go in a blink and then what?

The good thing about our situation right now is that I spend a lot of time with her due to her super busy schedule. When that day comes when I leave her at her Freshman dorm, I will have so many memories to look back on, but I’ll also be suddenly bereft of a steadfast companion. I’m the kind of mom that fosters independence in her kids. I taught my son how to do his laundry when he was seven, even though he’s never done it at home. He did it at camp and he does it now that he’s not living at home. I taught my older daughter the fundamentals of cooking and, even though she doesn’t cook much at home, she’s considered the “hardworking” one at her summer job doing food service at a major tourist destination.

I teach my kids independence because it’s the right thing to do. As a mom, I am both proud of my children for being independent and sad that they no longer need their mom. Not that I’ve taught them everything, but hopefully they know how to deal with a clogged toilet, several ways to cook an egg, and how to do their own laundry. Oh, and they all know how to swim!

But, I digress. As I drove away from my daughter, I wasn’t worried in the least about the dangers she might encounter. I trust her and I trust her teachers. She ended up having a fabulous time and when I picked her up, she talked non-stop about the entire adventure…The beeping fire alarm in her cabin which they eventually opened up only to have a *million* ants pour out of it and screaming out of the cabin and ending up outside for a while. Lying on the ground looking up at *billions* of stars, until some of the boys were moved out of their cabin to give it up to the girls. The next day, in smaller rafts, thankfully wearing life vests, going between two rocks called “Detroit” and “Chicago” (I guess the white water rafting version of a rock and a hard place!) she was flipped from her raft and thrust underwater to surface under myriad other rafts and *almost* drown. The narrative went on and on and on…

What can I say. My last child…my “baby”, is already a young adult. She still needs her mom, and she knows it, thank goodness! But she’s just a few years shy of flying the nest and I am that same distance from losing a part of my exixtence…a part of my own identity.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and the Grace to know how to let go!

I Signed Up For This…What Is Wrong With Me?

I have three children, but two are theoretically “grown”. Now it’s mostly me and my baby…uh, I mean high-schooler. She’s always been extremely active, an extrovert, an athlete, and a joiner. Last year she played summer-league softball and played on an American Youth Basketball Tour (AYBT) team. I about died…

Therefore, this year, I made her pick between softball and basketball…after all, she’d played both in their normal seasons and this was just extra. She picked basketball, her favorite sport. Last year, her CYO program couldn’t field a softball team, so I felt compelled to put her in the summer league. She loves basketball, so I also let her join AYBT…This year, however, she could play spring softball and when I made her choose, she chose basketball. Then her softball coach e-mailed me…

So, this weekend was the confluence of three teams…play-offs for CYO softball, first AYBT tournament, first scrimmage for summer softball. On the schedule were 2 softball games, 5 basketball games, 2 softball practices, and one basketball practice. You can imagine a lot of overlap. So, on top of helping her prioritize, I faced an entire weekend of driving, sports, and no personal time.

Fortunately, a few of us parents have joined forces. The first weekend was a success. I had a conflict on Saturday morning and couldn’t take my daughter to her playoff game. No problem! Another parent picked her up and I joined them later and watched the last half of the game. Unfortunately they lost, but my daughter wouldn’t have been able to play any more playoff games because she’s going on a school trip starting on Monday. We drove home and had some lunch, then she was picked up again for the first two games in her basketball tournament.

I tried to take advantage of my free time, and I did make it to the gym to do both my upper and lower body workouts. Other than that, though, I didn’t really do a whole lot. It dawned on me that just having down time was essential to my well-being. On Sunday morning, it was my turn to get the girls to the AYBT tournament, so I picked them up and drove for almost an hour to the “local” high school hosting this weekend’s event. I stayed and watched them play their third and fourth games. Unfortunately they lost all of their games, but they did play very well and the games were very close, including overtime in the fourth game.

At that point, another family arrived to relieve me and I drove home alone. I was ready for a six-mile run and set off in the sunshine. It was a little tougher going than I’d anticipated. I was about a mile from home when I gave out and walked the rest of the way. Later I learned it had been ninety degrees out. I hadn’t brought any water with me and the heat and dehydration had done me in.

Back home, I found my daughter ready for her scrimmage, so I drove her over and dropped her off before returning for a shower. Tired but refreshed, I headed back to the ball field to watch her team play for the first time this season. I pulled out a book and read while they played, putting it down when my daughter was up at bat.

I survived the first weekend, so there is hope for the next two months of nearly non-stop practices and games.

Find the Joy in the Journey…and the Joy in joining together with others to accomplish your goals!

Taking Care of Everything

Today was supposed to be my cross-training day and I was all set to go to my new gym and swim for an hour. Before I could leave home, however, I had to shovel the driveway. I had been doing a good job of keeping the driveway clear when I was off of work over Christmas and New Years, but the snow has been relentless. After the heavy snows, we got only an inch or two at a time and I stopped shoveling. I drove over the snow, knowing I was taking a chance at making a total mess out of the driveway.

I couldn’t put off the snow shoveling any longer today…and I had plans with my daughter to see the Oscar Nominated Short Films at the Detroit Film Theater at 1 p.m. So, around 10:30, best I can recall, I went out to tackle the driveway. It was a bear. I suppose about 8 inches of snow were layered there with some rain in the mix. The reality was about five inches of very heavy snow with a crust on top. There were also multiple tire tracks turned ice. But, as always, the enormous mess at the street where the snow plow had dumped a foot of heavy, slushy, road-snow was the worst. I think it took me almost as much time to clear out the apron as the rest of my 100-foot drive. Even my snow boots failed when I stood in the wet slush of the street to get the best angle at the heavy mixture of snow and ice at the end of my drive.

When I finally got to the point where I thought I could get my car out to the street, I quit. I’d been heaving heavy slush over previously-created mountains of snow. I swear, this is such a great work-out that even I may have a heart attack in the process. I dragged my sorry self back inside thinking it was about 11:30 a.m. It was 12:09. Uh Oh! I rallied my daughter and rushed through a shower, a necessity to deal with heavy sweating and almost frost-bitten toes.

We got on the road at 12:34 and got to the venue at 12:46 only to find the lot full and needed to park at Wayne State instead. This wasn’t a problem, except that the Wayne State parking garage was processing cars over a minute per car. We gave up on seeing the first animated short, but I was pretty sure we’d seen it already in the previews for Frozen, and it’s a Mickey Mouse piece, very clever to be sure, but not something for which I care.

We got to the theater and managed to find seats before the actual screenings began. We watched the five animated shorts, finding it hard to pick a winner. When the animated films were over, there was an intermission. We were in the balcony, close to the concessions. Being “in the know”, we were perfectly seated to get to concessions first…I nabbed a ham and cheese croissant, my lunch. My daughter picked a chocolate croissant, salt and vinegar chips, and a diet coke. We discussed the films and both agreed that Mr. Hublot was our favorite of the animated shorts.

Back in our seats, we watched the remaining, live action shorts. Now, when tickets are first sold, the nominated films are unknown. Shorts don’t have ratings, so it’s a tough call whether or not the films will be appropriate for children under 17. My daughter is 13, but I felt comfortable taking her. The Spanish film That Wasn’t Me, which was violent and disturbing, was definitely “R” material. Afterward I talked with her about it, and it turned out she had learned about the boy soldiers in school but she hadn’t known it was so bad until she saw the film. I told her that it was actually worse than even the film depicted, but left it at that.

The final film was only 7 minutes, and made us laugh, relieving the tension of the darker films. The Finnish film, Do I Have to Take Care of Everything? showed a family waking up late and rushing to get to a wedding with hilarious results. Like that family, my daughter and I had to rush from the theater just as the credits rolled to get  back home in time for her to change for batting practice. Yup, I took care of everything.

Find the Joy in the Journey…even if you have to take care of everything yourself!

The Girl’s On Fire But The Mama’s Burned Out

Seems like a year ago when my younger daughter started begging me to buy her midnight premier tickets to Catching Fire. Now, much as I looked forward to seeing the movie myself, having introduced her to The Hunger Games Trilogy, I do not do well at late-night events, much less being up all night then going to work the next day. I gave her all the usual excuses.

First, I told her no. Just plain no. Over and over and over and over and over again. Sigh. Then I added some reasoning. It’s a school night. You won’t be able to stay awake. You’ll fall asleep in school the next day. She was buying none of it. As the event got closer and closer, her requests became more and more frequent. Then one day, I thought…why not? So, I told her we could go. As the event got even closer and our schedules got more filled up, I realized that it was just not a good night to be up all night.

The premiere was November 22nd and that was the day of her play, which was at 7 p.m. By then she’d be too tired to remember her lines. She insisted that this wasn’t so. I told her that the 21st she had dress rehearsal and basketball practice and she’d be too tired to stay up. She poo-pooed that idea. Then I realized she had to be up very early on the 23rd to take a high school placement test. I was sure this would put the kibosh on the whole thing as she was very vested in getting in to a specific high school and needed to do well on the test. She insisted that she’d be in bed by 9 p.m. and would get plenty of sleep. I wished I’d stuck with just plain “no”…

Some things are more important to a 13 year old than reason would dictate…or at least that a mother could fathom. I decided to check out show times on Fandango and discovered a secret. Although the premier was advertised widely as being on September 22nd, theaters all over the place had shows as early as 8 p.m. the night before. A very few advertised special “sneak peak” shows sponsored by local radio stations or newspapers and I found that some of the local colleges had their own “sneak peaks” too. But as a matter of fact, anybody could see the movie at 8 p.m. on the 21st. Our local theater had seven showings before the midnight “premier”.

We arrived at the theater and printed out our pre-paid tickets. There were no lines at all. It’s a large theater with over 20 screens, but shows are rarely full. As we got to our theater, my daughter mentioned that her friend was in the theater across from ours…watching the double-feature. We went into our theater, which surprised me by being over half full already, and I let her pick the seats. We sat up much higher than I like to sit, but I learned that I actually liked sitting further back. I loved her enthusiasm about the movie, her anticipation of specific scenes, and her admiration of certain actors (Josh Hutcherson and Lenny Kravitz primarily). photo

After the cliff-hanging ending, we emerged from the theater and my daughter went straight into the arms of her friend from across the hallway…our neighbor from across the street. They both had on the same T-shirt featuring the mockingjay. As they jabbered on and on about the movie, the dad and I compared notes. I think I made out well, as I had read the books and enjoyed the movie. Then again, he got major points for taking his daughter regardless of the fact that he hadn’t read the book and didn’t particularly care for the movie and took her to the double-feature to boot.

So, that is how I saved my sanity and myself from burning out. We got to watch the secret, much earlier, true premiere and all was well!

Find the Joy in the Journey…There’s always a way!