“Would you like to see it?” I asked my 9-year-old boy.
The thing about youngest children is that we parents forget that they’ve been shuffled along with their older siblings to events appropriate to their siblings’ ages and by the time the youngest comes of age for, say, a Sesame Street stage show, you’re on to other things. The last time I went to Sesame Street Live, Shaya was a baby. He’d never had that experience.
Besides, I’m all about preserving innocence as long as possible. Who says that 9 is too old for life-size puppets dancing on a stage? Who says that by a certain point we must cease to be amazed and excited by stories and music and carefree movement?
“I’ve never been here before,” he said as we stepped inside the Fox Theatre. “It’s awesome!”
Indeed, it was. I’ve been to the Fox countless times, but I may never have truly looked at it. And so my son gave me the gift of seeing something for the very first time, which slowed me down enough to crane my neck up to the high ornate ceiling and open my mouth in awe.
We truly don’t often stop to see what is around us. Like this morning’s orange ball of sun beaming across the frost-covered golf course, grass turned pink in the sunrise. We are so busy racing through our tasks that we don’t stop to become consumed by wonder.
On Saturday, that’s all I did.
We bought cotton candy (pink, of course), Twizzlers and Raisinets. We noticed the sparkling gem eyes of the gargoyles flanking the foyer stairs. We discussed the spears in the blue ceiling dome over the main floor, searched on my phone for the history of the architecture to understand the Asian influences in the detailed decor.
We learned that the more than 5,000-seat theater was built in 1928, and Shirley Temple visited when her movies were shown there. Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra performed there, too.
We learned that the theater is one of five built by the film pioneer William Fox, whose wife, Eve Leo, insisted on a carpet over the lobby floor, which led to the largest single-piece wool rug every manufactured (3,600 square feet, weighing 3,000 pounds). Shaya loved that detail.
We confirmed that the gold gods and Celtic symbols on the walls represent Burmese, Chinese, Indian and Persian motifs, that the walls are terra cotta, covered with griffins and lions, stars and flowers.
Never before had I stopped to wonder at this amazing piece of architecture. Thanks to my little boy, I finally had the chance.
There is the notion that we don’t appreciate the landmarks of the places where we live until someone comes to visit and we set about showing them the best we have to offer. Think about that. We only look for the best in our midst when someone else inquires.
That’s a sad notion, at best.
People say things like live each day as if it were your last or you only live once to inspire themselves to take chances, live on the edge, doing uncomfortable things.
Why do we assume that our ordinary lives must be filled with mundane activities, jobs to fill our pockets, tasks to keep us busy?
Why not immerse in wonder and beauty right around us? It’s there, if only we can open our eyes to see it.
And you know what? We had a wonderful time at Sesame Street Live. My older children exclaimed, “Oh isn’t that cute!” when their brother told him we were going.
Shaya wanted a T-shirt to wear to school on Monday, to tell his friends about the show. We bopped along to the playful tunes, pressed close together as mother and son can do in that moment of wonder, and emerged into a clear afternoon of unseasonably warm temperatures, hand-in-hand, pleased with our lives, satisfied in that moment.