Gratitude in its Swiftest form


Last updated 11/1/2023 at 3:45pm | View PDF

"So, make the friendship bracelets. Take the moment and taste it," my newly minted 13-year-old sings along as we string tiny colorful beads and letters on elastic.

"Yeah, Mom, that's my favorite line," she claims.

(Yes, this is a column full of love for Taylor Swift. So, if you're a hater, who's "gonna hate-hate-hate," apologies. You probably "need to just stop" - reading, that is.)

The way my daughter starts the statement off with "yeah" makes me smile. It's as if she thinks she's answered a question I didn't pose. I didn't ask, but I'm certainly glad she offered. And so, the gift has been presented, our dialogue begins and my gratitude for Taylor Swift swells, all over again.

When my kids were young, we started November off by making construction paper gratitude trees. Daily, we'd write something that we were thankful for. The answers were simple: school, family, McDonald's French fries. As I age, gratitude worms its way into deeper, more meaningful crevices. Taylor Swift, although seemingly simple, occupies one such space.

Beyond Swiftie memes, Eras-themed outfit ideas and Travis Kelce theories, the artist presents an opportunity to connect with my two teenage daughters in real and thought-provoking ways. In a time when kids live too much of their lives scrolling on a screen,and at a stage where common ground between parent and child can be shaky, I treasure this shared interest and avenue to discuss the art of storytelling.

The connection crosses ages. Nieces and cousins from age 18 to age 4 spent the summer singing with us - so much so that my father-in-law began playing her music to stay relevant with his granddaughters. Even my husband subscribed to her creative genius after seeing her SNL performance of "All too Well," a 10-minute break-up song.

"It's supposed to be fun turning 21," one line goes.

Later, he quietly disclosed to me, "As a parent those lyrics are brutal, right?"

Last November, we both logged on, dutifully trying for Ticketmaster concert magic. Like the rest of the world, we came up short. We settled on a Taylor-gating parking spot, then got lucky 48-hours before the show when new tickets were released. We were practically behind the stage and probably paid more than we should have (but much less than you're imagining).

Sharing that joyful moment with my kids was the experience of a lifetime. I would do it all over again. When the movie came out a few weeks ago, we did.

"Devils roll the dice, angels roll their eyes," my 15-year-old daughter, tells me, is an interesting line.

"It sure is!" I reply.

And so, the gift has been presented, our dialogue begins and I say a silent prayer of gratitude, all over again.

- Carissa Kapcar of Hinsdale is a contributing columnist. Readers can email her at [email protected].


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