As my children get older, I find that I derive more happiness through their happiness than when pursuing my own interests or dreams. This may not be true 100% of the time, but for the most part, when Zeb and Grace are happy, I’m happy too.
A couple of months ago Grace found out a favorite musical artist of hers, Michelle Chamuel, was coming to Michigan to perform a concert in Ann Arbor. Ann Arbor is about an hour and half from our home, but I told Grace we would definitely make the trip.
This morning at 9:30 Hubby drove Grace, Zeb, and me to Ann Arbor so we could be among the first people there for the concert. Arriving a little after 11:00, we parked and headed straight for the stage. The park in front of the stage was already quite full, so we positioned ourselves on the curb just to the left of the stage. As the street began to fill with people, Grace and Zeb left Hubby and I on the curb and headed towards the stage.
For nearly three hours Zeb and Grace stood in front of the stage watching. They watched the sound-check, the opening act, Michelle’s performance, the encore, and then, the icing on the cake — the meet and greet. Yes! Grace actually got to meet Michelle, have her sign her shirt, and even take a “selfie” with her. She was so nervous, but when it was her turn to meet her, Michelle admitted that she too was nervous. Grace was on Cloud 9. Next, it was Zeb’s turn. Michelle took his shirt, signed it, and was sure to tell him to be sure to iron the signature or it would come out in the wash. Finally, she let me snap a picture of the two of them. How great is that!
I am not much of a concert-goer. In fact, since the Michael Jackson concert tour of 1985, I haven’t been to a concert. Back then, yes I am going to sound like an old fuddy-duddy here, but back then concerts did not seem anything like what the youth of today have to contend with. My vision of concerts these days consisted of drugs, booze, foul language, and inappropriate behavior all of which is glorified in the loud, nearly indecipherable lyrics and actions of the performers. Sure I know my parents said the same thing about the music of my generation, but they were just disconnected from the reality of the situation — right? Nevertheless, after today, I am going to have to revise my thinking.
Michelle was genuinely real. She was down-to-earth when interacting with her band and stage hands, cordial and friendly with the crowd — truly connecting with them, and her music was refreshing. Grace shared many of her original songs with me prior to the concert which were all very good. And we both enjoyed her performances on The Voice a couple of seasons ago. Not that having a 46-year-old appreciate her music is any indication of how good she is, but being able to connect with more than one generation has to say something.
Grace told me today was the best day of her summer — even her life. Granted she is only 18, but don’t take her comment lightly. She has a list of people she wants to see in concert. This list has only two people on it. Number two is Pink. Can you guess who number one is/was? You guessed it, Michelle Chamuel. Also, at the beginning of the summer she made a “Summer Bucket List.” On that list she had — Do something truly amazing, experience something new. Grace told me on the walk back to our car that this was fulfilled today and far exceeded her greatest expectations. She had wanted to put on her list Meeting Michelle Chamuel in person, but thought she was dreaming too big. Even that which was thought to be out of reach came true today.
The thrill and excitement Grace felt was contagious. I was so happy for her that I felt I would burst. Her happiness made today one of the best days of all our lives. The best part was that we were able to share this experience as a family. Hubby and I stood in the shadows watching as Grace and Zeb enjoyed the concert and then relived every moment of it through Grace as she regaled how much she loved every minute of it — especially getting to meet and briefly talk with someone who she has come to admire as a person and an artist.
With all the tabloid horror stories and nightly news casts reporting suicides, drug/alcohol abuse, and other degenerate behavior, it is nice to know that there are still artists out there who have stayed true to who they really are and not fallen victim to outside influences. I am so happy that we were able to share the gift that Michelle Chamuel brought to Ann Arbor today and for this I am — Simply Grateful.