I’ve often wondered where I got my wanderlust. I don’t know my mother well enough to know if it came from her, but I’m pretty certain it didn’t come from dad. I look at my sisters and marvel at how we’re all so different, even though we were raised by the same people (for the most part) and turn over the nature vs. nurture debate in my mind about a plethora of personality traits, but especially about the desire to get lost in the city, explore new places and observe a hodgepodge of cultures.

Friday night I took Erin on a date. A dear friend (and easily the best guy I know) gave her the ultimate birthday gift: tickets to the Big Time Rush concert at the Sprint Center. I’d offered to take her to other concerts, but she always said that loud noises scare her so she’d pass. Not this one, though; in fact, as soon as she saw that BTR would be here, she started lobbying for tickets. It became a daily ritual for her to bat her eyelashes and hug me tight, while asking if I’d take her. She got her wish.

We started the night early, so we could wander around the P&L District and go to dinner. She spotted the fountain outside the H&R Block building, and immediately ran to it. She said “I just love water, Mommy. I love to hear it, and to swim in it, and to smell it. It’s awesome.”

And I thought ‘maybe she is a little like me’. We sat and watched the fountain, threw our respective pennies in the well as we made wishes and soaked up the sounds for a bit before deciding she was hungry and we needed to go to dinner. We chose Gordon Biersch, because–in her words–‘the other restaurants are at home too. Let’s do something different’.

My thoughts exactly.

As we played tic tac toe and picked at garlic fries, we talked about the upcoming school year, what she’s looking forward to and why she was so excited for the concert. Talk turned to travel, and I asked her where she’d go if she could go anywhere. Her answer? ‘San Francisco, Hollywood, Washington D.C., New York, Texas, Paris, London and for some reason I really want to go to Australia. And I bet there are more, too.’

That’s my girl.

We talked about those places and why they seemed interesting to her. She asked where I wanted to go, and I shared my list. She lit up and said ‘we should plan a trip, mom. Just us girls.’ And so it was planned, right there in the corner booth; a trip to celebrate her high school graduation, in nine years, to Italy (or Paris, we’re being flexible) and indulge in cooking classes, exotic flavors and places yet unseen.

We talked about budgets, and how much this trip might cost. We broke it down into a savings plan. Over nine years, it seems doable. She promised to do enough chores to contribute to the monthly plan, and said that a little work is worth it to go someplace new and exciting. Plus, she made me pinky swear so I guess it’s a done deal.

We moved on to Belsano’s, a cute little gelato place. She fell in love with the Butterfinger AND cookies and cream flavors, and declared gelato better than ice cream. When I told her that gelato is Italy’s equivalent of ice cream, she said ‘well, that’s a sign that it’s where we should go. Why wouldn’t we take a vacation like that and not eat this?’
We went back to the bench by the fountain and sat while we ate, and she said ‘I think downtown changes you, don’ t you? We should come here at least once a month, just you and me. There’s lots to see.’

She sure knows how to get to me, this girl.

And the concert? Well, let’s just say that not only is she now comfortable with loud noises, but she’s fully versed in making them herself. She was positively giddy, made quick friends with the girl sitting next to her and spent the entire night singing, dancing, practicing her wolf whistle, jumping up and down and generally letting herself get lost in her very first big girl concert. She had a blast.

I enjoyed the concert, too, and marveled at how old I felt watching the BTR guys. They reminded me of the boy bands of my day, and I wondered if, somewhere not too far into the future, I’ll be seeing these new heartthrobs on reality shows, bad sitcoms and the big screen. I doubt anyone can compare–in my mind, at least–to the likes of Marky Mark, but it was fun to watch the concert as a mom instead of as a smitten girl. And I felt old for a very brief moment as I thought to myself ‘if she’s going to crush on someone, these guys aren’t so bad.’ The songs have good messages, the show was clean and I was enthralled with how social media has become second nature to such young kids. The times really do keep changing.
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