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On Saturday, my daughter and I had a busy day planned. She wanted to visit a consignment sale for a toy she had seen when I had dropped off some items there, we needed to shop for a birthday party, go to the party, then attend a free local concert that night. But there was one more thing. It wasn't planned. I kept telling her we couldn't do it, couldn't fit it in, were too busy for it and still, she was so obsessed with it. She wanted to go to Nickelodeon's Worldwide Day of Play in Washington DC, about an hour's drive and then a 1/2 hour train ride, 'cause I was definitely not going to drive into DC. I can never figure out DC and I haven't been in years. I remember roads going in circles and traffic lights off to the side of the road where nobody but people from DC think to look for them. And there was no parking provided by the event. My other option, the Metro train. This suburbanite may as well be a country bumpkin trying to figure out the train map, the red line/blue line/green line, the fare machines and where to go once I get off the train. Oh, not only could we not fit it in but secretly, this whole adventure felt too big for me. But as I got ready that morning, my daughter was being mesmerized by appearances on the TV of the iCarly gang, Victorious and Big Time Rush summoning her to this event. She kept running back to my room excitedly relaying to me what the guys from BTR were saying and what was going on there. I got to thinking, when is this event ever going to be this close to us again? It is not unusual for me to just do something unplanned, on the spur of the moment, and if ever there was a reason to do that, this was it.
But how could we fit this in? The travel alone was three hours up and back. When my daughter told me that it was mostly Big Time Rush she really wanted to see and didn't care about anything else, I figured we might be able to duck out of there right after the concert. Yet another problem- there was no schedule given for the concert. Nobody knew when they would perform. It occurred to me that we could go through all this trouble and totally miss it by the time we got down there. I must be crazy! But off we went, taking our chances.
We couldn't have timed it better than if we had announced "Okay boys, you can take the stage now. We have arrived." Just as we came around the corner on 17th street, we heard an announcement and an excited crowd. The boys from BTR were taking the stage in 15 minutes. Now I knew what we had done was the right thing. Nothing else mattered. My daughter was thrilled.
The entire place was set up with metal fences everywhere. It was hard enough to figure out how to get in let alone figure out how to make your way to a place you could clearly see from afar. It was like a maze with a thousand rats blocking your vision to how to get through it. We ended up making our way to the edge of a playing field to another metal fence where kids and their parents were lining up to see the band. This seemed to be as far as we could go.
We were just behind a few kids at the rail with their parents behind them. I could see the stage through a gap in the adults, but my 6 year old daughter could see nothing. There was no way we went through all this today and my daughter was not going to see anything. Oh, how I missed my husband at that moment! Once again, it's the little things that remind you that deployment kind of sucks. I know it would have been easy for him to put her on his shoulders. I knew I could not do it. I had to do something, so I tapped the woman in front of me on the shoulder and asked if my daughter could squeeze in between her kids at the rail. She turned away from me without answering. Oh boy! Now I know what I would've said if someone had asked me that. This woman was unbelievable! So I pushed my daughter forward up to the kids who were not exactly cooperating. Also my daughter is a bit shy. The woman said nothing to her kids. Finally I placed my daughter between a couple of the kids and told the woman, " Look, I just want to make sure she can she what's going on. We've come a long way for this today. I don't care about myself." Snooty mama, while she was not helpful, at least said nothing. Thankfully my daughter was able to get a spot at the rail while I stood a few people behind and took pictures. Yes, I was a pushy mama that day. I never knew I had it in me.
Big Time Rush put on a great mini concert. It may have been only about 8 songs, I didn't count, but it was worth the trip to hear my daughter saying over and over for the rest of the day, " I can't believe I saw Big Time Rush live." And we still picked up a gift and got to the birthday party and we still went to the other local free concert that night. Can you say overstimulation?
Pros and cons of this event: It was a fun event with many games and play areas set up and great free entertainment. The downside was the giant fence maze, the hydration stations were few and far between and empty by the time our parched throats found one. We never found any concession stands. They must have been squeezed into one small corner of the grounds and we ended up exiting before ever stumbling upon one. Great idea! Invite thousands of kids to come and be active without adequate food and water. Concession and drink stands should have been scattered throughout. We had to leave to get a drink. Good thing it wasn't terribly hot that day. While it could've been organized better, we got what we came for and left hungry and thirsty but happy.