Thursday, August 21, 2008


A few weeks ago, I found out that Elmo was coming to town. You know, the stage show where an enlarged Elmo and Sesame Street entourage bound around on stage singing all your old PBS favorites. I so wanted to buy tickets for Avery and me, but just could not rationalize the $45 dollars that it would require.

I was a bit disappointed that we weren't going to go as we have been religious in the past about taking our kids to many of the traveling shows without once thinking about the cost. But this time, in the midst of remodeling the kids' rooms and recouping from some extra summer expenses, I just could not even consider it.

At the last minute, this afternoon, Amanda called and was gracious enough to share two tickets with us to go with her and Addie. FOR FREE! I was almost a little too excited about going. I always get a little teary at events like this....... I know I'm a freak, but I just enjoy seeing my kids get to experience something that I think they will remember. And the tickets were free, it was worth a few tears of joy.......

Anyway, we met at the Convocation Center and found our seats. As we waited for the show to begin, the peddlers started to make their rounds trying to taunt the children with various treats and toys. Amanda and I decided to split a bag of cotton candy but at the last minute I decided to treat both the girls to a bag in thanks to Amanda and Addie for having us along.

What sweet joy....... cotton candy. All the girls (including Amanda and I) were enjoying the cotton candy when I looked at Amanda and she diverted her eyes and grinned a shy smile. I looked and saw two children in front of us watching every bite that went into our mouths. I couldn't help but laugh. Amanda's face was enough and who hasn't seen a kid who wants something. But then I looked closer. They weren't just watching. They were staring. Almost in disbelief. I looked next to them and noticed their mother who looked terribly uncomfortable in the sea of bow-headed girls and Elmo backpack clad little boys being overindulged.

I immediately started wondering what we should do. We both had come with very little cash and were trying to be frugal in our own spending. And the thoughts of handing them a chunk of our moist, half eaten, squashed cotton candy just didn't seem appropriate at the time.

At first, I was quick to judge. My job often leads me to my calloused idea that parents like this probably don't work and that they are too lazy or too self absorbed to be able to give more to their children. But as I tried to clear that from my head, I thought about how she probably had the same desires as I do to make our children happy.

The cotton candy suddenly felt gritty in my mouth. I felt guilty. Guilty for the cotton candy, guilty for the free tickets, guilty for the $8 pennant, guilty for the gas to drive to Jonesboro........ just plain guilty. Although I probably did not do the right thing in the situation (which was nothing, by the way), it was a humbling experience.

But on the other hand, I felt grateful. What a blessing is to be able to have what I have - what a joy to get to experience the simple things like 2 year old girls with sticky hands and sugar induced wiggles.

As the show started, the kids in front of us lost interest in our treats and were soon clapping and laughing to the songs of Elmo and his crew. Maybe they won't remember their craving for cotton candy by tomorrow, but thankfully, I will.

Thanks again, Amanda, for the tickets and the company. It was truly a blessing and, yes, I did choke back a few tears as I saw the girls dance and smile and get blue mouths from the yummy cotton candy. So many life lessons learned in just one little moment. But who could expect anything less from Sesame Street : )


Sheri said...

I love it....lifes little lessons! I like how this went full circle from your concerns about being content just a few weeks ago! But seriously, do you sleep???

Anonymous said...

You know you have a Nanny that would have loved to do something for Avery but then it probably wouldn't have meant as much. I am so glad she had a good friend and that she had a great time. I would have loved to seen her face and her Mommys.


Amanda said...

Yeah, those big eyes watching my every bite of that cotton candy will haunt me for a while. It was very bittersweet and I am so thankful too! I just didn't know what to do without offending the mother. That was definately a life lesson.