But today is a new day, and here we go...
Margaret's Excellent Adventure!
We had an incredible time. Your prayers were answered, and Margaret's wish came true!
Meg, who shared our story with her sister's best friend from Coca Cola, dropped off this embroidered "Bieber Bound" backpack Thursday night. I wish I had met her to give her a huge hug!
When we checked in at Dulles, the ticket agent said, apropos of nothing, "Oh, I thought there'd be four of you." Tim and I exchanged glances. So did we, lady, so did we.
The flights were easy, and Margaret even did her homework on the plane. That is one conscientious girl.
Our gorgeous hotel was in the LA Live Complex, right next to the Nokia Theater and Staples Center. Looking out our window was a little like being in Times Square, with the flashing billboards. We felt snazzy and very cool!
Friday night we got to meet our angels from Coca Cola, Jed and Melanie. They had been working on the Margaret/Bieber thing for weeks and treated Margaret like their number one priority, even though they were corporate big-wigs here to put on a major event. They arranged for our free flights, the hotel room, and tickets to the AMA's. Their generosity amazed us.
Saturday, after waking up at 4:30 due to the time change, we met with Melanie again and she got us into two rehearsals: Kelly Clarkson's and Daughtry's. It was interesting being behind the scenes. Kelly's new song was super catchy, and she was down to earth and friendly with her band. Daughtry's drummer was a little too intense for our ears. Oww.
After this, we met a few more people from Coke and Dick Clark Productions. Lynda, DCP's PR maven, knew our story and was also working the Bieber angle... hard. No one could make any promises, because so much depended on what kind of day Justin was having, how his rehearsal went, etc. Phrases like, "We can't be sure" and "We need to manage expectations" were bandied about. Seriously, we need to pray for that boy. I can not not imagine being 17 and dealing with the kind of fame, pressure and demands he faces each day.
We saw the guys from LMFAO, Lance Bass, Sarah Hyland from "Modern Family," and the curly headed dude from several Disney tv shows:
Then the waiting began. Justin's rehearsal was deemed closed, but we still hoped to get to meet him somehow. We stood with 4 Coke execs and Lynda, from Dick Clark Productions, in a hallway outside the rehearsal space.
Not once did these angels act like it was a burden on their busy lives to try to make Margaret's wish come true. They took it as seriously as if it were an important part of their livelihoods. They were warm, loving, and solicitous toward us. Cell phones rang and texts shot around, as the moment of truth approached. These were pros on a mission.
Margaret stood wide-eyed, as she looked down the hall. Justin's bodyguard and guitarist appeared, easily recognizable to her from his movie. A few more people, then Justin and Selena Gomez themselves! They all tucked into a green room nearby. What would happen next? Would we go in for a formal visitation, like with the Pope?
Nope, the entourage soon walked by us and entered the theater. More waiting. Then Lynda turned to us, and said, "You're coming in." She got us permission to be at the closed rehearsal! Two other young girls were there (the producer's daughter and Lynda's niece) as well as production people and Justin's entourage.
We laid low, not making eye contact with anyone as Justin rehearsed "Mistletoe." Five rows in front of us sat Justin's girlfriend, Selena Gomez. Between one of the takes, he snuggled up in the front row with her. He was such a cutie, and he reminded so much of another adorable full-lipped, brown-eyed boy that I know, I had to keep my mom-self from shouting "You're going to lose your pants, Justin, if you don't wear a belt."
Justin's guitarist came up to Margaret and the other girls and gave them guitar pics!
After the final take, JB and SG walked the short distance up the aisle past us to talk to the producer and see video footage of the rehearsal. Margaret was standing in the aisle at this point and JB brushed past her. I even saw her ponytail bob with the contact! Selena sat on his lap as they looked at the video. Ahh, to be 17 again!
Ok, deep breaths. This meet-and-greet was going to be now or never. They walked back down the aisle, really only a few feet, and JB stopped and said hi to Margaret!
He kissed her hand.
He asked her how old she was (10), what grade she was in (5th), and where she was from (VA).
Then he asked if she enjoyed the performance ("Yeah. You were really good. It was amazing!") and if she was excited to go to the AMA's tomorrow ("Yeah, I'm really excited.") Margaret was calm, cool, and collected. He then shook Tim's and my hands.
Next, he put his arm around her and a Dick Clark photographer took pictures.
Oh good gracious. Mission accomplished!
Margaret got her "private concert" from the Biebs, AND she got to meet him. He was soft spoken and sweet with her.
The movers and the shakers moved and shook and got it done. All for a little girl they knew just from your Tweets, Facebook, friends of friends and this blog. There was no mention of the accident or of Margaret's loss. This moment was for her, and it was pure, sparkly enjoyment. The Coke and Dick Clark execs smiled and went on their way, off to produce and run a major awards show and a red carpet concert.