Welcome, Mamma Crew!  Today is Kiddos Tuesdays when I discuss issues related to the kids.

Have you ever wanted to do something really special for your kids?  When our girls were young, it was easy to do. My girls loved everything Disney, so a cute Disney dress, yearly passes, the Bippity-Bop boutique — I mean these were real treats.  But a couple of years ago, we gave up our Disney tickets. I mean, the girls were just not that into it anymore. I would get more excited than them. Now that they’re tweens, it’s kinda difficult to find something special for them.  Then the Ariana Grande tour was announced! Yayyyyy! An amazing experience for three girls interested in music! My husband and I debated about the cost of the tickets, but broke down, and got enough tickets for our three girls and for each of our girls to be able to invite one of their friends. So six kids in total plus an adult ticket to chaperone. This was no small investment!

Ready to Rock!

The big debate was whom to invite. The concert was in Tampa Florida but we live in Puerto Rico for half of the year. So the girls wanted to invite their Puerto Rican friends to the concert. All the girls agreed on Lily.  She was the first friend they ever made on the island. The other two friends were based on who enjoyed Ariana Grande the most. But as it turned out, Ariana Grande was not well-liked in the group. I guess you can’t satisfy everyone.  So, they settled on Ella for the second girl. Ella is a fun and sweet kid with way too much energy. She is a lot like Andy, one of my twins. Last but not least was Pepper, the dark soul of the group, I love this kid! She has a twisted sense of humor.

Thankfully, we’re good friends with the parents and they were happy to have their daughters join us on the trip to Florida.  So here we were traveling with a gaggle of six girls to our condo in Kissimmee. Now having these girls at my home is not an uncommon experience.  Nor is traveling with them for that matter since last year the girls went to Kennedy Space Center Space Camp in Cape Canaveral. And of course, Disney. It’s also not unusual for us to have a sleepover with 6 or 8 girls at least twice a month. No, this was not that different.  Well, maybe just a little. The condo is very small, and I knew it was going to feel like we were on top of each other, but it was only for a long weekend and the girls really enjoy each others’ company. And of course, this was a special once-in-a-lifetime trip.

The girls counted the days with anticipation!  For most of them, it was less about the concert and more about the experience!  It was the first concert for four of the girls. And it was the first grown-up outing for all six!  They were flying on air. And of course, Emmi who is the true Arianna concert fan thought this was amazing!  I think part of it is that she likes Arianna’s music, but even more that she likes her voice, and above all, she loves her fashion style!  So for Emmi, having her friends there was the icing on an already delicious cake. Yum, yum!

The day before the event, I took the girls shopping.  Oh, believe me, everyone had their outfits for this concert for a long time before the big day. But it was all about accessories!  So, here we were on a trip to Target! Our favorite store! The girls got nail polish and special makeup! Did you know there is such a thing as purple lipstick?!  Holy cow! I think I’m getting old. I thought it looked ugly as sin. But, I kept my opinions to myself.

After all, this was not about me but about a gaggle of tween girls spreading their wings and having a good time. So when we also found face stickers on sale, why not pile on some more?  More is better right? Or maybe more is just more. I don’t know. The girls were having a blast. Of course, we had not expected the no-bag rule and most of the girls have to carry both money and incidentals. Emmi also needs to carry an Epipen. So, here I was at Target, last minute, digging around for backpacks.  Thankfully I found clear backpacks with cute, colorful trim — they were really cute — not cheap but they served their purpose.  

Finally, the big day arrives!  The girls put on their special outfits, they put on makeup;  I do their nails to match their outfits. It was such a joy! And they were so jazzed!  Emmi looks gorgeous, but then Emmi always does. Dora always looks too grown-up when she has makeup on, up even more so.  It scares me a little that she looks so mature when she is just a little girl, but I try not to think about it that day. And Andy, well, she is my rebel without a cause.  She refused the makeup and went with denim. I think if she could drink, eat, sleep, fake denim, she would. Yep, fake. Real denim is too rough for her. She likes the fake soft lycra type material. And of course, their friends were just as jazzed and looked just as great.

They piled on in the car and off they went.  I couldn’t join them because I was recovering from knee surgery so my husband and another mom were chaperoning.  The whole trip they blasted Ariana Grande music going for early hearing loss for the adults, but it was a parent’s dream to see the gaggle of happy girls singing and laughing.  

That is…  

Until Arianna Grande posted on Instagram that she had to cancel the concert because she was sick!  Of course, no one believes it at first. Was her account hacked? Was this some type of joke? Ticket Masters had not sent an announcement about any type of cancellation.  The arena had also made no announcement. There were hundreds of people already waiting in line to get into the arena. And still, no official announcement! I called my husband with the news.  The girls started looking it up on their phones. And suddenly, it was all over the news. Ticket Masters sent the notice. DEVASTATION!

Emmi and Lily were in tears!  It would have been Lily’s first concert.  Arianna Grande is Emmi’s favorite singer. And this was especially hard for her since she could not believe that Arianna Grande could possibly be so blatantly disrespectful to her fans. Ella was also extremely upset both at missing the concert and that Lily and Emmi were crying.  The other girls were extremely upset as well. For now, the whole girls’ trip lay in ruins! They demanded to know, “How could this happen?!”

Good question don’t you think?  I mean, I do get that people get sick.  I even get that singers can get too sick to perform.  But the announcers kept saying that Arianna had been really sick since getting up that morning.  Didn’t it occur to her that it would have been easier for her fans, especially her young fans, had she made the announcement early that morning?  Instead, she allowed these young girls’ emotions to rise with anticipation throughout the day, as they got ready, traveled to the venue, and for some, as they stood in line.  It was an appalling disregard for her fans to permit them to go through all of that build up just to let them down.

As the girls walked through the door of the condo, Emmi’s eyes red with tears that she had shed.  Lily uncommonly somber. The other girls quietly trailing behind, I thought it couldn’t get any worse.  But, oh, Arianna Grande made it so much worse…

I was truly disgusted with Arianna’s stupidity when she announced on Instagram that she would make it up to her fans — and then scheduled the concert for November 24th!  What the hell were she and her promoters thinking?! This is the weekend before the busiest travel week of the year! That Monday will be the beginning of Thanksgiving week!  Families are traveling all over the country to get together for this special family holiday. For many families who live far apart, this is the only time of the year when they can get together.  So now, not only had she ruined the concert, but she’s also in the process of ruining the holiday, as many will have to choose between the concert that they have spent a lot of money on, and spending time with their friends and families!  What is wrong with this woman?

Then she went on to say that the venue would offer refunds. Okay. I get it. They’re going to offer refunds for the concert tickets.  But the cost of the tickets is just the tip of the iceberg. Is she going to reimburse us for the cost of the weekend? Paying for the round trip flight of 6 girls is expensive.  I’m not even including the cost for the adults. And, let me tell you that hosting 6 girls is not cheap. What about the makeup? The nail polish? The backpacks? The outfits? Is she going to reimburse us for that too? Is she going to reimburse us for the food? The time? No! We know she’s not! She is going to make it up to us at the concert instead.  Wot! Wot!

Ahhh, yes, except that exactly, how is that supposed to happen?  Not all the girls can return to Florida for the concert in November.  Pepper is out because her family will be traveling to New York to spend the holiday with her family.  Ella’s participation is also uncertain at this point. Her parents don’t know if they should allow a second trip or keep her home for the holidays because it’s also her birthday weekend.  Were she to attend the concert, the family would not only not be together for the holiday but also the first time they would not spend her birthday together. It’s pretty hard to do when you are coming to the realization that in just a few years, the kids will be off to college. 

So at least two of the girls are not likely to return to Florida for the concert. I already know that the four other girls are going to be really upset. Of course, they’re not going to forget that two of their friends will be missing. That this was supposed to be a concert attended by all. And of course, all of the girls are asking, wondering if the November concert will be rescheduled for Christmas week at the last moment. As for the parents, who wanted to create a special moment for our children, well, now we’re stuck with a quagmire of expenses and a gaggle of unhappy girls. So is this a teachable moment? Well of course it is. There is one predictable thing in this life, it’s that we will all need to learn to deal with disappointment. Instead, let’s focus on how we can deal with it.  

1) It’s okay to be disappointed.  I told the girls: Allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling.  Let your emotions out! You’re angry, you’re disappointed, you feel like crying, go for it! I mean, I get it. They were disappointed that they would not be attending this concert together.  And Emmi was really upset that Arianna Grande turned out to be another celebri-teen, who has once again treated her loyal fans like peasants in the Middle Ages.  Arianna is the proud queen, who once again canceled another concert with a lame apology that has become a running joke.  In other words, kneel before me, peasants! 

2) After the girls had space to feel their disappointment, I tried to do my best to help them put the whole thing into perspective.  They might not be happy about what happened but is it really that important in the grand scheme of their lives? Back to Arianna Grande is an obnoxious “celebriteen.” And just because the girls like her music, it doesn’t mean that they have to like her.  And, while the girls didn’t get to attend the concert, they did have a great all-girls-trip with their friends. And, after all, wasn’t the trip more about having a special moment with friends than the concert itself?

3) We talked about what our core values are because it is our values gives us the freedom to choose.  I mean what I asked the girls is: Are you going to be driven by your disappointment? Is this trip going to become all about how Arianna Grande is obnoxious and we won’t get past it? Will we allow the trip to be ruined by this woman’s actions, and the subsequent concert to be ruined once again by her actions? I get that it will be sad that not all the girls will be able to attend the concert, but those who will can and should enjoy the moment because it’s a moment about friendship and bonding that doesn’t exclude those who are not present.

4) We concluded our discussion talking about accepting that disappointment happens to everyone – and it will happen to them. We may not like it but it’s completely normal.  No one gets through this life without disappointment; some are bigger than others.  When you can accept that things won’t always go as expected, you will be able to focus on the good things in life. So no matter how obnoxious Arianna Grande is, we can always remember the time when six friends didn’t go to her concert together and still had a great time!

So after all of that, I have one thing to say to Ms. Arianna Grande: Thank you for the lesson. We appreciate it! We will see you at the concert where we plan to have a good time. But no, we don’t accept your apology we will not be buying another concert ticket for any of your performances.

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