My daughter Destiny sat in front of the computer like she did every afternoon, glued to the screen and the Instant Messages she received. She tapped noisily on the keyboard, as if the keys would run away if she did not snap them back into place. A shrill screech, followed by an attempt to jump out of the chair and into the kitchen in one motion, attracted my attention. As she clumsily tripped over the casters of the computer chair, I cringed at the prospect of her hitting the floor.
“You know, it simply amazes me that you can perform ten sets of wings, double pull backs, and a time step in slippery tap shoes, but you can’t get from the den to the kitchen without taking your own life in your hands!” I said as she tripped, arms and legs flailing, all the way to the kitchen sink.
“It’s a gift,” she quipped. “Please can I go?” she asked as she finally composed herself.
“What are you talking about, Destiny? Would you please be careful? For goodness sake, you’re going to hurt yourself,” I said.
“The Jonas Brothers are opening up for Jesse McCartney at the Music Fair. Kenzie got eighth row seats. Please!” she begged.
“Okay, how much are the tickets?” I asked.
She slumped. Dropping her posture, she revealed her long, thin frame, sharp shoulder bones, and lanky stature. “Well…” and as if saying the words at a hundred miles an hour would lighten the blow, she spit out, “$160 each.” My maternal intuition imagined it would cost us more.
“Oh my goodness, one hundred and sixty dollars? Per ticket?” I questioned. “Des, are you kidding?”
“Please, Mom, it can be part of my birthday present. I really want to see them. You know how much I love them. It’s the eighth row! Can we get them?” Her forehead wrinkled and her hands were clenched together with tight knuckles pressed to her lips.
“Your father is going to kill me. Ugh, go ahead,” I conceded, “But don’t you tell him – let me.” I was a good money manager and my husband knew it, but I couldn’t help but wonder, was this present worth the price?
“Thank you, thank you. You’re the best! Yes, yes, yes!” She leaped to the den, now taking long, graceful strides, as if the good news instantly made her coordinated. She planted herself back into the permanent butt mark on the chair.
Clackety, clack resounded the computer keys again, as she excitedly informed her best friend of the good news.
It was all she talked about for the entire week, but on the Monday before the show, Mackenzie’s mother, Johanna, called. Jo and I developed our friendship over the years as two die-hard, enthusiastic cheerleader moms. We traveled together to UCA National Championships in Florida as chaperones for the team. As spectators in support of the squad, we devotedly schlepped to cheer competitions all over Long Island, but most importantly, a few of us took charge of raising funds for the varsity cheerleading program… or twisting arms for donations if necessary. Johanna stayed on top of folks who made a commitment to the program but didn’t pay up; kind of like one of those guys who collect for the mob. She didn’t take no for an answer.
But on that day, an infuriated tone replaced her usual peppy voice. “Christy, I’m fit to be tied! The broker that sold me the tickets made a ridiculous mistake. He said he had already sold those tickets, yet neglected to remove their availability from his website!” she growled. “A likely story. I threatened him several times and notified him that he was going to have to disappoint two teenage girls and tell them they were not going to see the Jonas Brothers! Apparently, crazy moms from Long Island do not intimidate shysters who wreck the dreams of young girls; I should’ve said I was from Brooklyn!”
She paused, probably considering whether or not that would have been more effective. “Anyway, I demanded a full refund, then hung up in disgust. What are we going to tell the girls?” she groaned. “They are going to be devastated.”
“I have no idea,” I sighed. “Can’t we get tickets somewhere else?” My natural tendency would be to move heaven and earth to accommodate anyone, especially my kids, but for some reason, I didn’t push the issue.
“I don’t know. I’ll let Kenzie look and see if there’s anything else available.” Her voice trailed off in defeat.
Kenzie was an industrious and determined kid when she wanted to be. She was an accomplished writer and her persistence earned her a resume of published articles and award-winning short stories. When the school newspaper needed an editor, Kenzie stepped up as a high school junior with an inspired article for every publication. She and Des made a powerful team as movers and shakers. Jo and I were pleased that their efforts were driven by good motives and that they co-created the life they wanted to live.
The reality of the disappointment, however, brought out a little of that typical teenage behavior every mother dreads, but should expect from time to time. So, after stomping, calling the broker a boob, and threatening to sue him, they focused on finding new tickets. After they surfed the web, they found a couple of seats in the last row of the arena and once again sang the Jonas Brothers signature song, “Year 3000”.
It was a July concert. The girls spent hours planning their outfits, scattering an array of rejected apparel across the bed. Des stood before the mirror wearing a weightless, handkerchief white eyelet sundress with leggings along with a long, colorful beaded necklace. Kenzie joined her in skinny jeans with a slinky, babydoll tank. They held hair brushes as microphones and struck a pose.
After the suitable outfits were chosen and hung neatly on the closet door jam, they sprawled across the bed amidst the wreckage, as each girl composed a letter to the boys. They loved their music and wanted to be sure their words expressed how much they did.
We purchased a white, dove-shaped tambourine and attached a bouquet of heart and star shaped balloons to accompany it. The tambourine was adorned with flowing ribbons and a personal message that read, “I can do all things through Christ… Philippians 4:13,” printed on the side.
When Destiny researched the background of the Jonas Brothers, she found that they had a strong Christian foundation and initially pursued a Christian rock genre. What a refreshing thought. A group that holds high values and morals as young men and musicians inspires my daughter. When raising children to believe that God is the center of our lives – girls in particular – it never hurts to have a band of cute boys endorse your cause. The Jonas Brothers didn’t just capture Destiny’s attention; they beckoned mine.
Sporadically dispersed throughout my life
But I more frequently linger
In the shadows, on the sideline
I’ve always felt quite out of step
Like I don’t belong
I never had a complex, though
Being different wasn’t wrong
Inwardly, I’ve confirmed
Who I will be when my day comes
I can trust in my foundation
I’m not afraid to stand alone
As far back as I can remember
I nurtured a dream
That my silent hope, a tiny spark
Would ignite into a flame
For the first time, I’m not weary
I want to feel too much
I crave it
I taste it
Take my life and shake it up
Unless you know of such desire,
A yearning for something more
It must be difficult to understand
And even harder to support
But once you get the bug
There’s no turning back
These boys have the propensity
To fill any voids you have
They captivate your heart and mind
A stellar combination
There’s something to be said
For their gift of motivation
It’s not just their music,
Plenty of people
Have such tendencies
These three have something else
An intangible x-factor
If I’m the only one who sees it
At least now, I know what I’m after
I want that something else
Something I’ve yearned for all along
Maybe it’s what I have
Maybe it takes one to know one