Getting ready to paint the town RED…
A few months back, a sweet friend emailed me and told me that she wanted to give me two floor seat tickets to see Taylor Swift for this past weekend. After I regained consciousness and started to breathe again, I started to plan our “Day of Taylor” with Selah. I didn’t tell her until the week before the concert, which was soooo difficult. I felt a bit like “Sue” for weeks-
We told her the Saturday before the concert, and spent the next week planning outfits, which ranged from Taylor Swift pajamas to a red ballgown with lyrics written on it, designed by Selah. In the end, we made matching t-shirts that said “Like, ever” on the front. Now, if you know my daughter, you know that she is a HUGE Taylor Swift fan. She has a notebook that she has written songs in just like Taylor. She wants to learn the guitar. She wants to live on a christmas tree farm, because Taylor did. At one point, she became convinced that Taylor might be her birth mother. But at the same time, even though she is a superfan, she’s also a little girl and she’s never been to a concert, much less a concert at Cowboy Stadium. Added to this are her sensory processing issues, and I wondered if this would be an amazing experience or a huge disaster. I spent the week giving her A LOT of sensory input and therapy to get her tank filled up before the concert, and we prayed together about the noise and crowds. The night before, Selah displayed some new thoughts on theology when she prayed – “Jesus, so I’ve been thinking. I really really want to meet Taylor tomorrow night. If I met her, I’d pray with her and invite her to church. So I guess if you love her, I’ll get to meet her tomorrow. Amen”
So clearly we have some work to do on the whole don’t try to manipulate God to get what you want thing…
We drove to Cowboy Stadium, and about halfway there, Selah decided that we were going to be late. The concert started at 8:30. It was 5:00 when she started panicking. We finally found a place to park, and walked into the stadium. At this point, the very beginning opening act had just finished and they began to play Taylor’s album over the sound system. Selah’s eyes were already huge and as soon as she heard that, she started pulling me down the hall because she was convinced that WE WERE MISSING TAYLOR WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU MOMMY WE ARE MISSING HEEEERRRRRRR.
I tried to reassure her that it was just a recording, but you had to shout to be heard and she wasn’t paying a bit of attention. I had my arm around her, trying to calm her down, when I felt her sort of slide down against me. I looked down at her face and saw her eyes flutter close and realized…
My daughter is passing out. My daughter is passing out over Taylor Swift. Sweet fancy Moses Cowboy Stadium people, please stop playing the song.
I scooped her up, and sat down on a bench, trying to reassure people staring at me that she was fine, just a little overwhelmed. I put my hand on her chest and asked her to breathe with me, and slow down. She opened her eyes, turned and looked at me, and promptly burst into tears, crying “I’M JUST SO HAAAAAAPPPPPPYYYYY”
For. The. Love.
We waited in the line to get our wristbands, and made our way down the ramp onto the floor. I made her stop and use the bathroom, since I knew she wouldn’t want to leave once it started. This is the part where I’m so sad I didn’t have my phone out. We walked out of the bathroom and heard some shrieking and see Taylor Swift walking down the hallway. She was just walking like, hey y’all, what’s up, yeah I’m Taylor Swift, let’s not make a big deal out of it…
Selah stood there, and I am pretty sure she didn’t breathe for a good two minutes. Taylor smiled and said “Hi”
Selah looked up at the ceiling, as though she could hear the angels sing the Hallelujah Chorus in that moment, as I quickly looked around for a medic in case we needed a gurney. She looked at me dumbstruck and I, with all gentleness and compassion of a mother, looked her in the eye and said “Do NOT pass out again.”
“And I’ll never ever be the saaaaaaame…”
We find our seats, where Selah immediately makes friends with everyone around us and informs all of them that she has a little brother adopted from Ethiopia and they too can adopt from Ethiopia if they want to. Ed Sheeran opened for Taylor and he was amazing. We were sitting next to another little girl and her mom, and after he was done, Selah asked the little girl what she thought of him. She looked thoughtful and then said “I don’t know. He was kind of weird. I think he is going to break his guitar. But he also looks like Ron Weasley. So that makes me like him.” Selah nodded at this sage wisdom.
And then it happened. Lights dimmed and the opening notes of State of Grace started…
Selah had this expression for pretty much the whole concert…I think. There was that whole 15 minutes that seemed like an hour that I couldn’t find her. Yes, that’s right. My eight year old rushed the stage, climbing over innocent people and likely dodging security. At some point in the concert, Taylor moved to a closer stage, and as she did, I turned to say “Selah, look, she’s coming closer”, but as I turned, I saw nothing. I turned towards the stage and all I could see was the back of her tutu, flying in the wind as she climbed over chairs and disappeared into a mob of people. At this point, I thought- okay, don’t freak out. I couldn’t leave my seat, because what if she came back and I wasn’t there? And not to mention that while people might let a cute little blonde girl slip by them to get closer, aint no way they are letting a middle-aged mom move past them. I’d get pummeled with glow sticks and drowned in the tears of teenage girls who realize their boyfriends are NEVER going to write them a song like Ed Sheeran. It could have gotten really ugly. So I simply sat down and prayed- Lord, keep her from being trampled. Lord, help her not trample others. Lord, seriously, I really don’t want this night to end with being escorted from the stadium.
She came back when Taylor moved back to the other stage, and she grabbed my hands and yelled “SHE TOUCHED MY HAND MOMMY.” I suppose that was worth the slow stroke I was having.
The concert ended, and we met up with Mindy (the sweet friend who gave us the tickets) to say thank you. Y’all, seriously, there is NO WAY we could have ever afforded to take Selah to this concert, much less have these amazing seats. It was unbelievably generous of Mindy, and I am so grateful that Selah was able to not only go to the concert, but see what selfless giving looks like. I’ve explained to her that Mindy could have very well have sold those tickets, but she chose to give them to us, simply because she knew Selah would enjoy them. I was and am blessed by that- so thank you again, Mindy!
On the way out, Selah tried very hard to convince a security guard to give Taylor a letter she had written. The security guard was very nice, but she said “I’m sorry honey, I am not allowed to take a letter to her.” Selah said “what if I take it out of the envelope, and then it’s just a piece of paper?” She laughed and said “No, I can’t do that either.” Selah replied “what if I drop it on the ground and then it’s just like trash that you just decide to give to her?”
Such an attorney.
Her letter says-
I am so excited to get to see you in concert. I love love love you. I have two brothers. My big brother is from Texas and my little brother is from Ethiopia. Maybe you could visit there someday. You might be nervous about tonight but I am praying for you so don’t be nervous and break your pinky. I hope I get to meet you. Maybe you can come over and have a sleepover. My mom will make us the best snacks. She plays guitar too. Maybe better than you but probably not. You wrote a song about a best day with your mom and this is my best day with my mom. I hope you know how much Jesus loves you. Will you come to church with me?
Selah Nicole Butler the first
(I tried to explain that the phrase is “break a leg”, but she insisted on pinky)
We got into the car, high on music and cotton candy, and then sat in traffic for at least an hour. What blessed my heart was my sweet girl deciding that since we were sitting there, we might as well pray for the people in the cars that we were next to.
Such a fun day, and a great memory for us.