Last night, my my thirteen year old daughter took me to a concert.
Sure, I paid for everything and drove, but I was the guest at this event. And what a thrilling experience, to be shown new things by a person you swaddled.
The show was good. The music is catchy and the production was simple but fun. The real standout for me though was seeing thousands of tween and teen girls so deeply and completely under this young woman’s spell. Teen girls may be fickle, but last night they were transfixed – hanging on every word, every movement. It was adoration, it was admiration.
And, I know it’s such a dad thing to say, and I also know I’m not supposed to start sentences with “and,” but I’m gonna say (and do) it anyway: I was warmed of heart to see that what these girls were soaking up from their guru was a message of positivity, self confidence, love. Listening to her between song banter I heard young Ms. Eilish affirm them, empower them, and give them license to be real (which many likely don’t yet know they need from no one).
Keaton asked me after the show, “Dad for some reason I feel like the girls at that show were ‘good,’ because, like, Billie is ‘good,’ know what I’m saying?” And yes, I did know, and yes, I told her I knew. Subjective as it is, the air of the place seemed to hum with “good,” and the whole vibe felt like a bit of a foil to some of the more potentially negative versions of what kids see as fame and accomplishment.
I know it’s a stretch, but I swear I could see a sea of young girls around me trying on who they are, becoming themselves bit by bit. Bouncing around and turning to their moms and dads with huge smiles as they sung along, maybe forgetting for a minute we aren’t really hip enough to share this with. Daring to just let loose and scream if they felt it.
Most of the time, Billie didn’t even need to sing, the crowd hitting every word in tune and time at the absolute top of their lungs. It was a thing to behold, and hear, and kept me in perma-smile the whole evening. Sharaun said that because most of my concert experience is swaying gently back and forth to “stoner music,” I just don’t understand a “good pop show.” Well, whatever, Sharaun… excuse me for never being a thirteen year old girl.
Watching Keaton let go a little, do that thirteen year old girl at a “good pop show” thing, screaming and jumping and just feeling, was great (although I was wise to pretend like I wasn’t watching, of course).
I think I was an OK dad. Perhaps not a cool dad, but I don’t think I was a total square, either. Can OK dads use the word “square?” For most of the show I was watching Billie, letting Keaton do her thing. At one point though I couldn’t resist and turned around to give her a quick side-hug out of happiness for the good time we were sharing. She allowed it.
This kid is pretty cool, you know? She’s also very important to me. Oh, God, how has she grown up so fast? Are we doing OK by her? Is she turning out alright?