Originally published in the Miami News-Record on February 14, 2016.
Last week I saw a post on Facebook that the musical “Wicked” was going to be in Springfield. I have wanted to see if for years, but last year when it was in Tulsa I wasn’t able to justify the expense. I couldn’t this year either, but just for fun I shared the post and said something to the effect of “If someone could tell my mom about this that would be great.” Mom is adamantly anti-Facebook and I knew she’d never see it and never did I dream someone would actually TELL my mom what I said. But lo and behold, one of her high school friends sent her a text message with my post copied and pasted in it.
About two hours later I got a phone call from Mom asking if I had plans for the following Thursday. I looked at the calendar and said I was free. Then she asked if the kids could take care of themselves. I said that yes, they were quite capable of that these days. Then she said, “Okay, well, I am taking you to see Wicked. Clear the whole day.”
I literally busted into tears right there in my office chair. It was probably pretty ugly, but I didn’t care because I was so dang happy. When I hung up the phone I ran into the living room where I screamed to my husband and kids, “I’M GOING TO SEE WICKED NEXT WEEK!” Paul just looked at me blankly and said, “Okay. (pause) Uhm. What’s Wicked?” Then I went into this babbling mess of words that somehow tried to convey the story. He just shook his head then asked, “Do I have to go? Because that sounds pretty awful.” Then I told him no, he wasn’t invited. He was totally okay with that. The kids were offered the opportunity. All three turned it down. I all but begged them to relent and just allow themselves the indulgence that is musical theatre. They politely and repeatedly declined. I am pretty sure I have failed them as a mother.
In the week before the show I downloaded the entire soundtrack and listened to it ad nauseum. I worked diligently on hitting the high note at the end of “Defying Gravity”. On Saturday while putting the final touches on Paul’s birthday dinner I was doing a dramatic lip sync in the kitchen. At the end, standing there with arms outstretched, head thrown back, mouth open, I was totally in the zone. I opened my eyes to see Abby and her boyfriend staring at me, Dakota with this horrified look on his face. Abby just shook her head, looked back down at her phone and said, “Get used to it. If you think she’s bad now, wait until she actually sees the show. She’ll be SO much worse.” Dakota replied, “Well, I’ve been around her when she’s watched ‘Chicago’ so I know what she’s capable of.”
My sister, her two oldest kids, Mom, and I packed into the Prius at 9am the day of the show. Before we got to Joplin my mascara was in danger because I had already been laughing so hard. We discussed Super Bowl commercials, growing up, and the price of gas. We ate lunch at Lambert’s where the rolls were flying and the okra was hot. We finally trekked our way to the theatre and found our seats. I was in awe. Heck, I still am. In fact, as I write this I am still on a bit of a giddy high. As I write this, it’s nearly 11pm and I am not ready to go to bed and end this amazing day.
I cried when Elphaba defied gravity. I cried during the entire finale. I was probably the happiest 43 year old woman in the entire building. Then I teared up again the parking garage as I thanked my momma for making me wickedly happy. My mom is kind of the best.