Look, when I was a kid growing up in Urbana, I have a distinct memory of learning about Sesame Street Live! coming to Assembly Hall while watching PBS during a pledge drive. Back then, you could donate, and they'd put your name on the screen, and you watched and cheered and it was basically like your five seconds of fame for the year.
I don't remember what show it was, actually. Big Bird Goes to Hollywood? Save our Street? I can't recall but I know I asked my parents to take us, and bottom line was that times were tight, and it was a no from them, and I remember my Mom tearing up and then going full blown sadness about it for a bit.
We didn't go, and we all got over it, and I think we did something else awesome instead, like going to Turkey Run, or Indiana Beach. Life is full of lessons. One of them is that you don't spend money you don't have, especially on your snot nosed kids.
Now, here I am, pushing forty and with two boys ages (almost) 5 and (almost) 2, and I am in the fortunate enough position to be able to plunk down the $100 to take our little family to the show. It was a Hannukah present to my kids, and let me tell you, I am more excited about this than any concert or theater performance that I have seen all year.
And while that's hyperbolic and sort of untrue, what is very real is how much I genuinely appreciate Sesame Street, here and now, in today's age of fast moving, screen switching, action based kids programming that is available to young people on so many kinds of screens that it's distorting and frightening for a person like me, who sneaked into this world at the tail end of the 1970s.
Indeed, life has a way of coming full circle.
My oldest asked about Disney for the first time a few months back, and even made a small pitch to us about all the things his friend saw and did while he was there. And I told him, point blank: "We don't have that kind of coin right now, but we'll work on it." He pouted. Then he ate pizza, and got lost in something else. He keeps mentioning it, but it's the same answer.
All things are relative, I suppose. The goal is to make sure they get that experience as well, despite my misgivings about the corporation and what the activation represents. You pick your battles.
That my parents will join us will hopefully help my Mom (who likely has no recollection of this happening) come to terms with her difficult and supremely wise decision back in 1985 or whenever.
Needless to say, if you can afford it, and if your kids are still at the age where this sort of thing can matter, this is something that I believe does a child's mind good.