Last night I put on heels….

… and a dress and (gasp) a little make up!  That’s right, I went out.  No.  Peter and I didn’t magically find a way to go on a mid-week date.  Instead, I had a hot date with Irene, her friend Robin and Robin’s mom, Lisa.  I was lucky enough to be invited to the SHN Orpheum Theatre to see the Lion King in SF, and jumped at the chance.

Since Sam was born, mommy dates with Irene have been hard to come by.  Some of it has been her own doing.  We all know about her mouth and her attitude, so it’s no wonder I haven’t been leaping at opportunities to spend some alone time with my little one.  But, this was just too good of an offer.  Irene LOVES singing.  She loves musicals.  And, Irene has only seen the Nutcracker – never a real, live Broadway musical.  Plus, Robin is an aspiring actress herself, so this was a win-win all around.

I have to say, the night was even better than I expected.  The four ladies went out for dinner before heading into the city for the theater.  It was fun to see all of us all gussied up.  When we arrived at the Orpheum Theater, we went to the VIP lounge for a little mingling with other fellow Bay Area Bloggers.  It was fun to finally put a few faces to people I have been reading and chatting with.  Then, the girls got a chance to talk with two of the actors from the play.  I love the look on Irene’s face as she talked to the woman that played Nala:

Sam the Anti-Preemie: Irene and Robin meet the actors

The meet and greet over, and goodies in hands, we headed in to the theater to take our seats.  My god, were we lucky we had aisle seats!  Who knew all the “animals” ran up the aisle to get to the stage?   I thought Irene was going to pass out when the huge elephant walked right past Lisa, brushing her shoulder.  From there, Irene sat, jaw down to her knees, eyes as wide as I had ever seen them – totally mesmerized by the production.  I was in a pretty similar state.  Everything I had heard about the Lion King production just didn’t do justice to the amazing costumes and staging.  It is unlike anything I have ever seen on stage – and I loved it.

In the middle of the second act, I found myself taken to a place I wasn’t expecting.  The big scene when Simba realizes his dad lives on inside of him took my breath away.  No, it wasn’t the amazing singing (which was amazing), but the power in what was being sung.  Those words resonated with me.  Sam was named very carefully.  Even before his early arrival, Peter and I had made the decision that if we had a boy there was no question we would name him Samuel.  My grandfather (dad’s dad) and my uncle (mom’s brother) are both Samuels.  My grandfather is a strong, smart, funny guy who is showing us all by living as long as possible (go Papa!).  My mother’s brother was killed in 2004 when a car hit him from behind while he was out for a bicycle ride.  My Uncle Sam was a hell of a guy.  Who else would teach me about the three food groups (Chocolate, Vanilla and Strawberry) or how to evade the draft.  Sam was a larger than life character whose heart was as big as his smile.  I often find myself seeing Sam in my Sam.  When the lyric “In your reflection. He lives in you.” was sung I just welled up with tears.  I love thinking that Sam lives on in Sam – and these lyrics just reminded me that he does.

By the time the play ended, Irene was standing on her seat clapping as hard as she could. She loved everything about the play.  She loved the music, the costumes, the humor, the songs and her stuffed Zazu.  I loved getting special time with Irene and watching her face as she watched the performance.  Plus, any time I get a reminder that Sam carries with him my uncle I feel a little bit of peace.

Disclosure: SHN generously hosted the pre-show reception, gave out goodie bags for Irene and Robin and provided me with four complimentary tickets. I was not required to write about the evening, and all opinions are my own.

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