Have you ever opened a wrapped gift only to discover you couldn't really have it for another five months? Like a gift certificate for something you dearly want but can’t redeem until nearly a half a year had passed? For five months you have this gift and it feels like it’s mocking you because there’s nothing you can do to rush the time frame for being able to use it. It could be maddening/frustrating/outright annoying if you’re a person who isn't fond of waiting for something.
Fortunately, (although my family would vehemently disagree with this choice of adverb), I’m not prone to rushing a gift opening moment, content to savor the moment of revealing what is inside. This tendency to relish the reveal always elicits moans and groans from my family at Christmas and birthday present opening times. Christmas Day of 2017 was no exception. I spent it with my daughter, her husband and ten-year-old stepdaughter. A child opening gifts turns a Christmas morning into a flurry of activity and a living room into a household warehouse of discarded boxes, paper, ribbons and bows. Great fun for her and terrific entertainment for the adults. And then it’s my turn to open my last gift. A box no bigger than the palm of my hand and utterly weightless. Hm. No wrapping paper – my daughter’s attempt to expedite her mother’s painstaking gift opening maneuvers – but a gift box with the image of a pair of elf-like booties on the lid.
I open it. The three onlookers watch in captivated silence as I look inside. No tissue paper or box in a box (one of my favorite gift giving ploys). My daughter really thought this out, not giving me any excuse or opportunity to mess with that little package, but getting to the heart of the matter. Which looks to be a curled piece of paper. I pull it out, unfurl it and have to take a second to understand what I’m looking at. I gape at the bold print across the top of what is not a piece of paper but an admission ticket, or rather, two admission tickets that read:
U.S. Bank Broadway Series
PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
The Spectacular New Production
Fabulous Fox Theatre*St Louis MO
SAT. MAY 12, 2018 2:00PM
May 12!!! 2018!! Next year!! Four months, two weeks and two days from today?! Someone who doesn't relish having to wait for something might have grumbled but not me. I was thrilled; thrilled by the gift itself, thrilled at my daughter’s thoughtfulness and ingenuity AND thrilled about having the event to look forward to. And this gift came with a triple pleasure: seeing Phantom for a second time (I saw a performance of it years ago in London), knowing it was one of my daughter’s ultimate favorite musicals that she’d yet to see performed live, AND I’d get to share it with her.
The four plus month wait to see the play was beyond worth it. Everything about that weekend last month – which my daughter didn’t realize at the time she bought the tickets included Mother’s Day - was perfection. An afternoon at the St. Louis zoo, excellent meals and an outstanding theatrical performance that made me cry, which was silly because the ending hasn't changed, ever.
Mr. Phantom Of The Opera never gets the girl.
(Which reminds me: there's a scene in "Forget Paris", a 1995 movie starring Billy Crystal and Debra Winger as husband and wife. He's driving them home after seeing a production of Phantom. His wife is dabbing her eyes, crying softly. When he asks if she liked the play she says "Oh yes, it's so romantic." To which he replies, "Romantic? The guy's got broken dinnerware on his face." Never have forgotten that scene. Or the one with the pigeon on the patio...)
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