The Night My Daughter With Rett Met Andrea Bocelli at His Concert
After being recognized as a celebrity herself, she's taken to see the star
Last in a series. Read part one here.
On June 10, 2016, Cammy, my daughter with Rett syndrome, and I had a date to see the blind singer Andrea Bocelli and his violinist, Caroline Campbell, in concert for the second time. This time we were Campbell’s guests. I’ve never before been in the right place at the right time, and this was the beginning of a night of fortune for us.
Cammy’s eyes twinkled as we went to pick up the tickets under her name. Then, as we navigated around the arena to find our seats, I peeked inside the women’s bathroom to see what we’d be working with when it came time to change Cammy. Panic set in as I saw how narrow the stalls were, including the handicap stall. I found an usher and asked where an accessible bathroom was. This is a trick I learned in Chicago after going to Wrigley Field and the United Center.
Next, we made our way to our seats. Panic set in again, as the tickets were to actual seats, a few spots into the row. I didn’t know where to park the wheelchair, how I was going to get Cammy in and out of the row through the crowd, if she would be able to see, and how I was going to be able to hold her on my lap for the entire show. I quickly found another usher, explained the situation and asked if we could either get folding chairs to sit behind all the rows or move to the accessible seating area.
The usher felt so deeply for our situation that he offered us seats in a skybox. After a half-second of thinking, we graciously accepted — mostly because I knew this meant a private bathroom! The kind man escorted us to the box, where he opened the door. To our shock, the skybox was completely empty. Cammy and I had it to ourselves.
The usher gave me his card with his number and told me to let him know if there was anything else he could do to make this a great experience for Cammy. I was in tears.
As Cammy and I took selfies in the seating area, waiting for the concert to begin, I heard her name being called. “Is that Cammy from the ‘What’s Your Goal‘ video?” a man in the next box yelled. We were still not used to Cammy being recognized from a video she made with the Chicago Blackhawks. The man next door walked over as far as he could and went on about how much he loved the video.
Cammy made eye contact with him and smiled as her way of communicating “thank you.”
The concert began, and Cammy was locked in on Bocelli and Campbell. She had a permanent smile on her face, as did I when seeing her joy. We were both in awe of the combination of this unparalleled talent.
As the concert ended, we waited until the venue cleared to avoid the hallway crowd. When I opened the suite’s door, it accidentally hit someone. I apologized profusely as this woman stopped in her tracks to see Cammy. The woman asked if we enjoyed the concert and marveled that my 7-year-old daughter was a huge Bocelli fan.
She asked me, “Does your daughter want to meet Andrea?” This offer completely stunned me. I graciously and skeptically accepted.
The woman took us through a hallway, down a secret elevator, to the basement. As the elevator door opened, a stunningly gorgeous woman was there. It turned out she was Bocelli’s wife, and our escort introduced us. Bocelli’s wife was incredibly kind. She asked me as much as she could in the 30 seconds before we got to her husband’s dressing room.
We walked into the room where Bocelli had already changed from his elegant tuxedo to a sleek suit. His wife whispered to him who we were and that Cammy was in a wheelchair and nonverbal. She took his hand and led him to us. She guided his hand to Cammy’s and introduced her famous husband to my daughter and me. Cammy was in complete shock, as was I.
It was the most beautiful moment I’ve ever experienced with my daughter. I shed tears witnessing how my daughter was unable to verbally communicate how much she loved him and his music. And Andrea Bocelli was unable to see my daughter. They were both guided by the ones who love them the most to connect and have this moment.
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