Sometimes you just have to buy the tickets. Ignore the account balance. Pick up the phone, use the special offer code, and say yes to two seats in orchestra row A, because spontaneity is the zest of life.

So I did just that. I took my future Broadway Baby (my daughter is about to turn 15), and off we went to the big city for a day of live theatre. The performance of choice was Mirvish’s musical production of “Once,” featuring an all-Canadian cast. For months, my daughter has asked if we could see that play. My head kept saying “You cannot afford to do this,” but my heart was pounding, “Go and be inspired.”

I have spent much of my role as a mother feeling overwhelmed but under whelming, over protective and under prepared.
The relationship between a mother and daughter is precarious at the best of times.

As my daughter enters the delicate teen years, I am ever aware that we are in a crucial stage of development together. If I don’t invest in taking the time, she won’t offer me the space to make it. Soon I will stop having clever answers and she will stop asking the hard questions, unless I continue to find a way for us to connect.

Sharing a mirror to apply our mascara and shades of pink lipstick, it struck me that a lot has changed since our first theatre date to see Mamma Mia when she was just five years old. Yet in so many ways, very little has changed. She is the rhythm of my heart.

Last Saturday, we headed to the city with the radio cranked, singing our hearts out, anticipating a day as best friends on an adventure to connect over our deeply rooted love of music and theatre.

I did not research the story of Once, on purpose. I wanted to go to see a production I knew nothing about and just feel my way through it. That’s what art does; it washes over you with emotions you cannot predict or avoid. It moves you, stirs your essence, kicks your reactions and shakes up your perceptions about life. There are no guarantees how you’ll feel when it’s over, but you will be changed, somehow. A good performance stretches your imagination. Change is vital.

The moral of the story of “Once” (at least by my take on it), is that we must take risks in life, overcoming our fears to make our art, follow our heart, live our life. I won’t spoil the ending, but as art imitates life, it’s complicated and sad, beautiful and hopeful. The sound track was fantastic, the actors played perfectly imperfect characters, and the story will be with me for a long time.

As the lights came on at the end of the show, I turned to look at my daughter, both of us smiling and wiping the salt streams of mascara away from our eyes. True to our nature, a fit of giggles ensued as we realized our hearts had just expanded in unison because the art had changed us both.

Sometimes you just have to buy the tickets. Invest in time. Connect. Feel it. And change. Life is spontaneous. Love is worth it. Happy birthday Broadway Baby.