It’s come to my attention, since telling people we were going to see Ed Sheeran, that there are people out there who don’t know who he is. So let me tell you, he’s an internationally recognized singer and song writer from England…he also happens to be my daughter’s favorite singer and person. We were introduced to Ed a year or so ago on the way home from North Carolina. “Shape of You” was big, and it was the first time we’d heard it. (It was actually probably last Summer because I remember it being warm…but we live in Savannah so…)
FALLING FOR ED
For those of you who don’t know, Jac has some pretty serious speech issues (and some pretty serious issues in general since birth). She’s been receiving speech therapy since she was just about a year old. She tells us she knows what to say, but her mouth won’t let her say it. (Very frustrating and has caused lots of melt downs.) We heard “Shape of You” too many times to count on that trip and by the last time she was singing along.
I was so impressed we showed her daddy what she had learned. lol I found the song on YouTube and she sang along. (He was impressed with her ability to sing along..not so much with the lyrics.) Jac is allowed her iPad on the weekends and she began searching for his videos. Eventually I downloaded the “Divide” album on my phone.
SINGING ON CAR RIDES
Soon it’s all she asked to listen to in the car. She loved his music, and I started looking up his tour to see if he was coming anywhere near us. Atlanta was on the tour…and then I remembered her grant agency mentioning something about paying for experiences like professional sporting events and concerts. So I emailed her coordinator and asked if the concert was a possibility. (The most special and heartfelt thanks to B&B Care Services. They are amazing, and made this night so special.)
The next thing I know I have three missed calls from her…I called her back and she asked me if we really wanted those tickets before she placed the order. (They were really expensive!!) I was shocked, and then she told me that they were really good seats. More about that in a minute…
That day when Jac got home from school, I sat her down at the table and said, “If you could see any person in the whole world, who would it be?” She didn’t hesitate and said, “Ed Sheeran.” My heart! Then I got to tell her that we would be going to see him…This was March. The concert was in November. We had a lot of time to wait!
Of course her therapists were super excited for her, and her occupational therapist even helped her write and put together a countdown for the concert. We started with 109 days! But every night before bed we would flip the number to the next. It was part of our little nightly routine.
I’m a stay-at-home mom…I basically make my own schedule and decide how and when we do things. But I’m also married to a man in the Army. This presents schedule challenges sometimes, and the concert was no exception. About a month out, he told me he was definitely going to be in the field during that time and he wouldn’t be able to watch our boys while I take Jac to the concert.
Mimi to the rescue! My mom came in to town a few days prior to the concert so she could help me. Yay! So all we had to do was get there and see our guy!
THE DAY OF THE CONCERT
We left around 10:30 a.m. to get to Atlanta. I was going to leave a little later, but my husband encouraged me to leave a couple hours earlier than I had planned because of traffic around the city…and boy am I glad that I did!
We arrived about 4:00 p.m., checked-in to our room, freshened up then went to get some food.
We had dinner at Paschal’s which was right next to our hotel…which was right down the street from the Mercedes-Benz Stadium where the concert was. Two things: Paschal’s has some of the best collards I’ve ever had. They tasted just like my grandma’s. Mercedes-Benz Stadium has a fantastic staff. I can’t say enough good things about them. Everyone was friendly, welcoming, and above all HELPFUL! You don’t find amazing customer service like that much these days, but they make it happen there.
We headed back to the hotel for a few minutes, but decided we’d rather get there earlier than later. The doors opened at 5:00 p.m. and we headed over about 6:00 p.m.
My mom and husband wanted us to take a cab, but we were so close and everyone else was walking so I felt safe walking too. We met a couple on the elevator headed to the concert. Turns out the lady was a special needs teacher from my home state of North Carolina! Small world.
We went through security. This is another thing. They had great security there: metal detectors and no bags over a certain size unless see-through. They also had law enforcement there.
We finally made it in doors and I saw a section to get bracelets for floor seating. I wasn’t sure we were supposed to go there, so I asked them to look at the ticket to make sure we were supposed to be there…and WE WERE! Yay! So we got our special bracelets which Jac said she would wear “forever”! lol We headed in to find our seats.
We got some drinks and waited.
Finally, the moment happened. See my Facebook video of the moment and the look on her face when he took the stage:
I’m not even going to lie, I ugly cried as soon as he started singing. It was finally here, and she was finally living the moment she’d been dreaming of and talking about for months! It was so special to her, and I got to be a part of it.
On the way to Atlanta, Jac and I talked about what he might open with. I told her he’s probably open with “Castle on the Hill”. Just seems like a good opener, and he did. We sang and danced all night!
Singing her favorite song with him…”Photograph”…
We had a blast! Like the best weekend ever!
So the concert was over, and I had been dreading leaving all night because there were so many people there. It actually wasn’t bad at all. Then Jac wanted a shirt. So we got in line. It didn’t move for 25 minutes!! I talked to her about it and asked her if she would be okay with me ordering her one online. She reluctantly said yes. We left the stadium and her shoe came apart. So I carried her. As we got to the end of the building I saw a black “thing” blow across the side walk. I ran over to it, and it was a shirt from the concert…in a small! I handed it to her and said it was meant to be.
We got back to the hotel and she was hungry so she ate her leftovers from dinner at midnight. A true party girl.:P
We went to sleep. She was out in about five minutes. My body was buzzing from the excitement of the concert and it was WAY past my bed time, so I didn’t sleep much at all…but she slept great…and late!
We got up around 8:00 a.m. and headed down for a small breakfast because we met with my cousin for a later brunch. At 10:00 a.m. we headed downstairs to check out…
And all of our stuff for the weekend was in that little suitcase. lol
We headed down to check out, and had a nice brunch meeting with my cousin, her husband, and his kids.
So basically, the best weekend ever. Now I know this is a super long blog for me, but I want to share some things with you.
WHY WAS THIS SO SPECIAL?
So we already know that Jac loves Ed. Dearly. But he’s brought out something in her that wasn’t there before…a better ability to communicate! This is huge. Music and singing his songs has allowed her an outlet and a way to communicate. It’s helped her speech. I found out, not long after her fall for Ed, that he too had suffered from eye issues including eye surgery and a lazy eye..the same one she has apparently. He also had to receive speech therapy (like Jac) to help with stuttering…he overcame his speech issues by singing and learning to rap. There are some similarities that make him even more special to me…and maybe that’s why she’s so drawn to him. For these reasons, I will always be a fan too. We can’t wait to see Ed again.
Sorry for the incredibly long post, but I just wanted to share our special weekend with you all.
Until next time…