Dear Taylor Swift,
Can we talk about your mom for a moment?
Taylor Swift is in the midst of her Eras Tour in the US, soon extending to the rest of the world. So far, her parents have been with her every step of the way.
One would think that they would be there for opening night, but every single stop? Yep. Yet it’s not just that. They actually experience the concerts with her and the fans. Every. Single. Night.
Maybe this isn’t a secret, but there is a family tent for them at each venue. They aren’t tucked away in a faraway place. They are right there, dead center, in the middle of the fans. I have never seen anything like it.
We were lucky enough to be seated relatively close to the family tent. Cautious at first, we watched as fans would walk up and talk with Andrea and Scott. Yes, there were security guards that kept a keen eye on everyone. They were kind but firm, letting you know that you could say hello and grab a picture, but when Taylor was on stage, they wanted to watch their daughter perform. Well, of course!
Now, let me rewind our experience for a moment.
I have talked openly about my daughter, Gracie’s, health challenges before. Mild in comparison to others, but in her short thirteen years (yes, Swifities, 13!!!), she has gone through three surgeries, countless health issues with Juvenile Arthritis, and thus, constant struggles with her vision. Just one week prior to our concert, she had her tonsils removed. She awoke from surgery and immediately mumbled, “Taylor Swift”. She wanted to be comforted by Taylor’s music while she as she lay there in pain from her procedure.
That Saturday, we watched Taylor’s concert in Minneapolis on TikTok and it inspired Gracie to write a letter to Taylor and ask for her to play two of her favorite songs during Taylor’s Surprise set in Cincinnati. It was a hand-written letter that I took pictures of and shared via an Instagram message to Taylor and Taylor Nation. In that letter, Gracie also expressed her love for Andrea, aka Mama Swift, and how she hoped she would meet her at the concert in Cincinnati. She also made Andrea a friendship bracelet that said ‘Mama Swift’.
I knew it was a long shot but I sent her letter and a little note from me. Then off we went to the concert a week later. We didn’t hear back from Taylor or Taylor Nation. I mean, can you imagine how many messages and special requests they get every day?!
So, we arrived at the concert, full of excitement just to be in the presence of Taylor. As the concert began, we noticed Andrea and eventually we made our way over to her. You can imagine how many people come up to the tent so it took us four different attempts, in between sets, to get first in line.
On the fourth try, Andrea saw us coming up before the end of Taylor’s current song. The security guard tried to make us go away and then suddenly we heard her say, “No, no, no. It’s okay. I want to say hello to her!” She recognized that Gracie had been there multiple times to talk to her. At the same time, another excited fan jumped in front of Gracie, while Andrea was walking over. Mama Swift, in her firm mom voice, turned to the fan and said, “One moment, I have to say hello to this beautiful girl.” She was talking about my Gracie!
It was a short, sweet conversation between the two and it brought tears to my eyes to see the joy on my daughter’s face, along with the genuine kindness that Andrea showed Gracie. She was so surprised that Gracie had made a bracelet just for her and immediately put it on. A small gesture of kindness that made a little girl feel as big as the sky.
Just as they were done talking, I gently touched Andrea’s arm and said “Thank you.” In one swift (lol) motion, she gave me the biggest hug I have received in a long time. I quietly said, “May I raise my daughters to be as wonderful and kind, as you have done with Taylor.” She pulled back, looked me in the eye, and said, “I can tell that you are a great mother and already are.” I was stunned.
Andrea didn’t have to do that. She didn’t have to say hello to fans, she didn’t have to take pictures with us, and she certainly didn’t have to share a ‘mom’ moment with me. But she did. She does. At every single concert. She makes every person feel seen and important. She lifts people higher than I think she realizes. Andrea is the reason Taylor’s star shines so bright.
She raised, debatably, the biggest star in the modern world. This could have negatively changed them, jaded them, and made them resent fans and the public. Yet, somehow, they embrace others. They remember that we are all human, with feelings, and that we experience the lyrics that Taylor writes in her songs. We make them our own, based on our own lives. Think about that for a moment.
The media has not been kind to Taylor over the years. She has fought some monumental battles publically that tried to ruin her reputation. Yet somehow, they know the fans and those that support them. Their perspective is amazing. Of course, they choose to be very private and that is completely understandable. But when they are in public venues, like Taylor’s concerts, they treat you as if they are welcoming you into their home.
Taylor projects this same kindness on stage every time. She takes a moment at each concert to really look at the faces that are close to her and scan the arena audience from top to bottom several times throughout her shows. It’s truly genuine.
Now that I met Andrea, I believe what Taylor is expressing during her shows is real. She sees you. She gets you.
A few years ago, my niece was one of the very lucky few “super” fans to be invited to Taylor’s home for a listening party. Think about that for a moment. Taylor opened her home, her private space, to those that at first were strangers. And she invited them to listen to her yet-to-be-released new album. That had to be scary, intimidating, and vulnerable. Yet, she did it. And made them feel like friends by the end of the night.
The Swifts are a rarity in this day and age of quick fame and stardom. They choose kindness, caring, and humanity. May we all remember this in the day-to-day of our own lives.
So, it’s official. I’m a Swiftie. From here on out.
Thanks, Mama Swift. And, Taylor, too.
Does anyone want to join me in crossing the Swiftie bridge? Everyone is welcome ;0)
Till next time.