Chris didn't want me to tell Savannah that we were headed to a Hannah Montana concert where we would be meeting Miley Cyrus until she and I actually walked into the arena.
I found this to be a bad idea for two reasons:
1. I was way too excited and could not possibly contain my secret for the hour long drive to San Diego (plus, my ears have a tendency to bleed when fielding the same repeated question from a six year old).
2. I was sure that the sheer magnitude of the moment would cause Savannah to embarrassingly break down sobbing in front of her idol. (Considering that I cried hysterically at 12 years old when I saw Luke Perry perform in a fashion show ...at a mall. But, that's just me. I forget that Savannah is a bit more well-adjusted.)
When I told Savannah in the car on the way to the concert, I handed her a glossy picture of Hannah Montana and announced "This is where we are going".
She didn't scream. She didn't cry. She stared at the picture in disbelief for a moment and then said almost to herself "I'm going to tell her our names rhyme."
This may shock some of you, but Savannah is obsessed with Hannah Montana. A six year old obsessed with a Disney pop star! I know, it boggles the mind.
She watches the show every day, she sings her songs pretty much constantly, and she is already the talk of the Kindergarten town because she has a Hannah Montana backpack which I won in a fierce smackdown bidding war with 13 other moms on Ebay for (whispering) $85.00 (/whispering).
Anyway, when I heard that Hannah Montana was going on tour, I immediately got online to buy tickets. During the last harrowing year of emotional and financial unrest, Savannah has been the silent victim through it all and she deserved something insanely special.
Insane turned out to be an understatement, however. Fancy Moses, those prices! Hundreds of dollars for basic nosebleed seats! Being anywhere close to the stage was a joke - it was in the thousands. I was shocked. I don't want to buy her kidney, I just want to see her perform.
I went back and forth on the issue, but in the end I just couldn't justify spending that kind of money. I know how the Internet wants to balance my checkbook, so I'm sure it couldn't either.
When she's older, I told myself.
Then, two days before the concert came to San Diego, I received an unbelievable offer from Disney via the amazingly talented Tracey Clark to, hold onto your bunny slippers, attend the Hannah Montana concert (see Lena tear up) as VIP guests with stage seating (see Lena sob with gratitude) and meet Miley Cyrus (see Lena crumple onto office floor hugging cat).
It's not that I'm a fan necessarily. In fact if I were being honest, I only recently figured out that Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus are the same person. I know, I'm quick like that. (What's this you say about Clark Kent and Superman? Wha..?)
I was overjoyed because I could not imagine a better way to say "thank you" to my daughter for every time I've shooed her away over the last year because I had to work. Or pack. Or spend hours on the phone negotiating our house sale with the bank. Or unpack. Or cry on the couch.
What better way to say "I love you' than good old fashioned idolatry.
We arrived to the San Diego Arena about 47 hours early because I am notoriously late and I could not fathom being late to this concert. It's only taken me 30 years to know my own limitations and if that meant waiting in the god awful cold for three hours then so be it.
When we were finally let in, the lovely people at HP draped VIP passes around our necks, gave us our tickets, and pointed us into the arena with specific directions to the HP reception where we would meet Miley before the show.
I, of course, immediately darted off in the wrong direction and then ran around in circles, pleading with slack-jawed arena employees "But, I'm supposed to meet Miley Cyrus!" to which they would chuckle with each other before directing me to my dreams.
I ended up coming back outside three times for further directions from the HP people before I finally - swear to God - said these words to the HP executive "Can you please take me there? I'm an idiot."
I'm happy to report we finally made our way to the reception where I was greeted by free cookies and also free wine. Hold me closer, HP.
When it came time to walk down to our seats we were pumped. (Have I really rambled this long and this concert hasn't even started? Sheesh, don't be shy with the backspace key, Lena.)
Savannah was in shock when we were seated at the edge of the stage. As a matter of fact, she literally started flicking her face because she said "I can't believe this is really happening". Her sheer joy was absolutely priceless. (Literally!)
The Jonas Brothers performed first and well, how old are they exactly? Because those were some tight pants. All I have to say about the Jones Brothers is that they are, um, fine young men. Their mothers should be very proud! Moving on!
Hannah Montana was, in a word, remarkable. What a performance! She came out as Hannah Montana first and then performed as Miley - the outfits, the dancing, the singing, the wigs - it was amazing. Let's just say it was a whole lot better than Luke Perry in a jean vest at the mall.
We ended up doing the Meet and Greet following the show. After an hour wait in line, Savannah walked up to her idol - looking like your average itty bitty 15-year-old in a green sweatshirt, albeit exhausted from her concert - and smiled wordlessly at her. Miley Cyrus gave Savannah an autograph, leaned in for a picture, and it wasn't until we exited the backstage that Savannah started breathing again.
That's when she stared at the autographed photo, her face beaming, and said "This is the best day of my life".
I'm here to tell you that nothing will make you feel as old as taking your "baby" to a concert. I walked into that concert a few months out of my 20's and I left 109 years old. Seriously. I hobbled out with blisters, a migraine, heartburn, and a $700 purse that was literally dripping a trail behind me because someone's "Best of Both Worlds" Icee leaked all over the floor under my chair.
And yet I responded to her "Mine too, my love. Mine too".