It had been two years in the making. Planned with military precision. Operation Meet Music Superstar.
From Brisbane to Los Angeles to Nashville and back to Brisbane.
The Teenager was unwavering in her confidence. She was going to meet Taylor Swift.
For those who don’t have daughters, Ms Swift is the biggest thing going in country/pop music. Young, and sweet, and incredibly talented. With 11-million Twitter followers. That’s 11-million more than me, give or take a few hundred.
She sings songs from the heart. About boys, and bullies, and mum and dad. Positive messages, from a home town girl in a flowing dress.
We’ve been to see her once before. You may remember me telling you about it. Dads were lined up on chairs outside, plotting secret routes to escape the midnight madness of the concert car park.
I struggled that night. The girls had a ball. But, like the great majority of those who attended, they didn’t get to meet her.
The next day, the plan was hatched. The Teenager would write letters, and cards, and tweets, to convince one of the world’s biggest stars that they should get together. Steely confidence with a pink flouro pen.
Weeks turned to months. No reply.
She was sure that would change when we set foot in the USA. Our dream family holiday. Designed, in her mind, to meet a pop star.
And it nearly did, in our first week there. Incredibly, the girls spotted her in a Los Angeles hotel. Their first day of star-stalking looked like paying off. There she was, lunching with a friend at a swish hotel.
But it wasn’t easy. They were a few tables away. Security was hovering. And deep down, the girls knew that it would be wrong to disturb her in such a private moment. So, they didn’t. She left soon after. Golden opportunity lost.
That night, back at our hotel, The Teenager was distraught. No photo. No autograph. And no meeting.
Even after such disappointment, she refused to give up. We agreed that there’d be another chance. Only one of us truly believed.
A few weeks later, I found myself standing outside an impressive apartment building in Nashville. The memory is clear, because I’d lost all feeling in fingers and toes. An icy Tennessee wind will do that to you.
The Teenager had found Taylor Swift’s address. Here we were, delivering a carefully worded card, a necklace, and a fluffy toy lobster. And before you ask, I have no idea why she chose a lobster.
The Treasurer accompanied her into the lobby, while Daughter Two and I considered setting fire to cars to get warm.
It turned out that the security guard on duty took his job very seriously. So seriously, that he refused to accept the assembled gifts from a young Australian girl. What a guy. But The Teenager wasn’t done.
She directed our taxi to the nearest post office, and posted her goodies. With a note, advising Taylor where we were staying. We didn’t hear from her.
Others might have ended their mission there. But not The Teenager. There was one more chance.
And that brings us to a special night in Brisbane last week. The Taylor Swift concert.
The girls did the usual stalking activity that day. Checked the hotel. Arrived at the concert early, to stake out the back entrance. Nothing.
A select few hard-core fans received passes to get to the front of the crowd. The Teenager missed out, again. And at that minute, watching her face, I thought the dream might finally be over.
I told her to enjoy the concert, like everyone else. She smiled, and said she would. And that she’d get as close as she could to Taylor, just in case. God love her.
As the concert progressed, she was lost in her admiration of the singer. As well as the screaming and jumping. She didn’t notice Taylor’s minders working the room.
They were looking for fans with something different, to meet the star after her concert. Qualities that set them apart from the rest. Like a girl who spent part of her family holiday standing in the freezing cold, delivering gifts for the artist she adored.
After all her efforts, it was her good-natured perseverance in Nashville that did the trick. They were moved by her passion. And thankful that she hadn’t been a pest that day in LA.
So it was that The Teenager, Daughter Two and The Treasurer met Taylor Swift. They laughed, and chatted, and had a photo taken. The dream came true.
The Teenager was right all along. She refused to accept that she wouldn’t meet Taylor Swift. Even if no-one else had faith.
Good things happen to good people. I’m so happy for her. And there’s a lesson here. Never underestimate the power of a fluffy toy lobster.