We have been looking forward to this evening for nine months. Last summer when we found out that Phantom of the Opera was going to be performed in Sacramento, we knew we had to be there! The Phantom is one of our family’s personal favorites and we have many a memory surrounding the movie and soundtrack. (My favorite one is when the girls and I spontaneously went to the movies very late one school night to get away from the blaring of professional fans that were trying to dry out our kitchen after a water disasater. We were the only ones in the theater so we sang out loud to every song and got up and danced in the aisles. Great fun and laughter!)
So how do you afford to take a family our size to the theater for an evening? I’ll tell you! Everyone pays their own way. While there are times that I long to be able to treat my girls to things like this, we simply can’t afford it and because of that our children have learned to not only work hard for the things they want to do but they appreciate them more too. The girls each worked to pay for their tickets as well as dinner and everyone helped Grace (the 9 year old) hold a small yard sale and lemonade stand last summer to pay her expenses. Since Michelle was in Australia last September when she turned 18, we all decided that this would also be her birthday celebration, so everyone pitched in for her evening as well. The tickets have been sitting in my jewelry box for nine months as we all anxiously awaited the big night to arrive.
The girls (the first five – Joy who is just five & baby Daniel stayed home and watched the movie!) spent most of the afternoon getting beautiful! There were blow dryers, curling irons, make up, brushes and other accessories everywhere. There was a flurry of excitement and lots of advice flying through the air on hair styles, color choices, jewelry etc… In this day and age almost any attire is acceptable for the theater – but not for my girls – they were not settling for anything less than formal dresses for this affair. It was one of those moments that I could not have been more thrilled and rather proud of my blessings of many girls who are growing into beautiful and accomplished young ladies.
Dan (who I am sure will enjoy the A’s game on Father’s Day much more than the theater) was also very accommodating, donning a fancy vest and bow tie. He looked dashing! I went through my dresses only to find that most were a bit too big. (I am not complaining!) Thankfully many friends have donated dresses to us over the years so we wouldn’t have to purchase them for high school formals. (And thankfully my girls are very agreeable to wearing “hand me downs”) I finally found the perfect black dress (size 10!).
We headed up to Sacramento mid afternoon to have an incredible dinner before the show at The Melting Pot, a fondue restaurant. It was delicious, we all enjoyed every single course served and finished every last bite. The dessert was especially spectacular – we had four types of chocolate fondue at our table – dark, white, milk and a combination of chocolate with peanut butter crumbles. They were served with “dippers” of pound cake, brownie bites, strawberries, bananas, rice crispy treats, marshmallows and cheesecake. Oh my! It was heavenly.
We walked from the restaurant to the theater and I am sure many wondered where we were all going “dressed to the nines”! Our friend Mark Holliday (a season ticket holder) had gotten us seats on the fourth and fifth row – what a way to experience a production. The costumes were stunning, the sets amazing, the music inspiring, the acting excellent. We laughed, we cried and our hearts were touched once again by this wonderful show.
The memories will last a lifetime!