This year, on my daughter’s 5th birthday, we gave her something different. She couldn’t open it, it wasn’t wrapped, there was no box… but she can hold it (in her heart) and keep it forever (in her memories).
I had the privilege of treating her to her first concert experience, to see her favorite group, *NSYNC. Perhaps you are thinking she is a little too young for that… but, even after the fact, I know it was the best birthday present we could have given her.
I do not believe in sheltering my children. By this, I do not mean that I will be taking a preschooler to rated-R movies, or anything extreme like that. But what I do mean is that I can’t be with my children around the clock every day of the week, and therefore they will see and experience things that I have no control over. For this reason, I would rather be by their side as they experience the world, than try to shut the door to the world, and leave them unprepared for when someone opens it. If I teach them their morals and values, that their choices and opinions matter, then they will be better prepared to experience the world. It is this parenting philosophy which leads me to let my children develop tastes for music outside of Raffi and Sesame Street, as they grow into their individuality.
My daughter has an honest appreciation for musical talent of all types, which I can see in her eyes and read in her face whenever she watches anyone perform. Attending this concert, allowing her to see something of this proportion in person, was a truly magical experience for her. There were moments that I thought she might explode with excitement!
It’s quite possible that I needed this night just as much as she did. Lately, I’ve felt every bit as old as each new gray hair that emerges on my head. My energy is zapped, and I can’t seem to remember how to have fun. But I had fun that night! My daughter’s happiness and excitement overflowed right onto me, and her youthfulness found it’s way into my soul. She helped me find my way back to the part of me that had been trapped inside for so long.
Of course, I have to give credit to the boys of ‘NSync, also. Their energy and excitement, their humor, the lively music and neat dance routines… I enjoyed the show itself almost as much as I enjoyed my daughter’s delight in it!
We were both lost that night, but it was perfectly alright, because we were lost together. And together, we found our way back to reality when the lights went out and the crowds went home.
Together, I hope to take many more trips to that magical place that we shared that evening. As parents, not only do we need to be the responsible adults, but it is also important to hang on to our youthfulness, and enjoy it with our children while they are still young.
About the Author
Valerie Zilinsky is a married mother of two young children, and ‘WebMom’ of http://www.RaisingOurKids.com