Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Promise Fulfilled

When the BoyRD was a wee child, he adored Barney, the loud, adenoid-challenged, overly cheery, purple dinosaur.

Like the “L-O-V-E-D” him kind of "adored" him.

I would even go so far as to say that as a citizen of the diaper-wearing nation, the child was obsessed. Maybe someday I'll tell you about the things I would get done while he was entranced by Barney videos. Then again, maybe that's not the best idea.

So as a two year-old, the RD hears Barney is coming to town.

Except this is a lie.

(And should we talk about how a two year-old hears about an act coming to town? As though in 1995 there was some sort of underground toddler grapevine? Did they use rhythms beaten out with sippy cups, broadcast via pirate radio? It boggles the mind, really.)

Oops. Bunny trail. OK, back on track:

The lie lay in that Barney was coming to our town. Barney was, you see, coming to Las Vegas, 96 miles away from our town. (I've said "our town" so many times in this sentence that I'm beginning to feel like I need a couple of ladders and a stage manager. Five points if you get the reference.)

Today those 96 miles wouldn't be a big deal. Shit, Shoot, today I drive 96 miles just for a good cup of coffee and a nice view. Fifteen years ago, however, that was like asking me to fly to NYC and pay cash for four dozen tickets to a Broadway show before handing them out to the musical aficionados from the cast of The Jersey Shore. It just wasn't gonna happen. Not only was I a single Mama without the financial means, but there was no way my car would make it to Vegas, much less home.

I talked to the young RD about it.

"Son," I explained (I called him son at home), "next time Barney is in town, I will find a way to get you there. I promise. I double-dog swear. I make a solemn oath on my Garth Brooks Fresh Horses CD." (What? It was 1995, and Garth would become a concert I had to tell him three separate times we couldn't afford to attend. Seriously. The child would smile ear-to-ear, kick his little feet in glee, and holler at the top of his curly-haired little lungs, "MAMA! Mine Garf! Mine GARF, Mama! My inability to provide that not once but thrice still hurts my heart.)

Defeated, the little fella agreed that "someday" would be good enough. And I never forgot.

Fast-forward seven years. The BoyRD is now 9 and we're living in Fargo, North Dakota. Fargo, the city with the FARGODOME. (Their spellin' yellin', not mine -- I'm just stickin' with their branding.) The FARGODOME, a large enough venue to bring in big shows. Big shows like Barney the purple damned dinosaur, for example.

Nobody's forgotten the promise, right? Me either.

"Son," (I still called him son), "Barney is coming to the 'DOME. Do you want to go?"

He thought about it.

And thought about it.

And weighed.

And measured.

"Yes. I do."

And so we went.

We made a date of it. He and I washed the car, got dressed up, left Dad at home and went out to lunch. And then we went to a Barney concert.

We had great seats. And by "great seats," I mean, "on the floor, about 11th row, center." (Yeah, that's how I roll.)

As we waited for the show to start, he looked around and pretty quickly had an observation to voice.

"Mom. Mom. MOM!"

"Wha? Oh, sorry ... I was people watching."

"Yeah. Me too," he said with concern knitting his brow, "I'm the oldest kid here."

I had noticed something similar, and was ready with a platitude. Something like, "Maybe people just think you're exceptionally tall for your age," but when I saw the look on his face, I realized it was best to go with a different approach.

"No you're not, babycakes. See? Look at that girl over there," I said, pointing to a blond tween up in the tiered seating. "She's even older than you."

"MOM -- she's a babysitter!"

Ah, crap. This kid was smarter than I thought.

Thankfully, that's when the show started.

Four billion cubic tons of multi-colored confetti showered down from the heavens. Lasers and spotlights swung wildly from every crevice of the facility. Tiny voices screamed in an ecstatic frenzy as Barney and his posse bounded on-stage.

I told myself it would be okay; my baby boy would remember everything he loved about this goofy-ass purple freak affable dino as a toddler and be able to enjoy the show, even more so than if he'd been to the same performance as a two year-old.

And then Barney exalted the crowd with, "Hey boys and girls! Do you know what time it is?"

And my sweet, sweet, loving, angelic brown-eyed boy stood up and shouted at the top of his lungs, "It’s time to PUT … ON … SOME … PANTS!"

Barney didn't hear him. I'm not entirely sure anyone but me heard him, either. And in that moment, I learned something.

It could be that maybe some promises are better left unfulfilled.


Lyz said...

Give me the 5 points and a couple of benches, 'cause I'm finally putting my theater minor to good use!

And I'm thinking he's heard that "put on some pants" line somewhere before...:)

Kris said...

Oh my god, as much as my Lucy's facination for the Wonderpets drives me insane, I sort of dread the day she's "too big" for it! :(