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My daughter and I missed out on tickets to Taylor Swift – but I’m not sorry

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It is 10:51 am on Sunday morning and I have just a few minutes to try to secure Taylor Swift Eras tickets for her last show in Melbourne. I am watching the clock count down on the Ticketek Marketplace website, refreshing the browser every few seconds. Next to the last date for the Melbourne leg of the tour, two greyed-out words state “none available.

Ticketek allows 10 minutes before the website times out. I have discovered it is more like 15 minutes and, in that time, you are desperately hoping someone out there is selling tickets at the precise moment you want to buy them. It is a narrow window and, so far, I am out of luck.

Taylor Swift came into my life inadvertently through my daughter. She was a diehard Swiftie from the age of 10. As the only super fan in her friendship group, I became her wing woman and had no choice but to get onboard. Taylor became not just a constant in both of our lives but the thing that brought us together during my daughter’s teenage years. There was the 1989 concert with matching outfits and the Reputation tour, where we somehow managed to get seats seven rows from the front. I will never forget the moment when Taylor liked one of my daughter’s Instagram posts. The whole family revelled in that achievement for days.

This week, as I have tried to get tickets, I have had many flashbacks to those Swiftie years

The obsession really took hold when the album 1989 was released. My daughter was 11 and just about to start high school. As a music-loving family, 1989 was an album we all enjoyed listening to; even my indie-music-loving partner loved it. 1989 was a groundbreaking record for Taylor, launching her into a stratospheric pop career. It was also a seminal album for me and my family beyond the music.

Not long after the release of 1989, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer and had to undergo major surgery. After spending two days in the ICU and being bedridden for another three, I was instructed to get up and get moving. I vividly remember wheeling my catheter bag and vital signs monitor down the hallway of the hospital, listening to Taylor’s Out of the Woods on repeat. The line “20 stitches in a hospital room” resonated on a deep level. At the time, I was in the “in-between” stage that a lot of cancer patients find themselves in, where you don’t know what lies ahead. Thankfully, the surgery went well, and the margins were good. A few weeks after the surgery, I was told that I was one of the lucky ones. Three months later, I was sitting on a white plastic chair at AAMI Park, seeing Taylor in concert at the 1989 tour. I distinctly remember feeling overwhelmed with gratitude at how fortunate I was to be doing this with my daughter. We were both elated, and it is an evening that is forever etched in my memories.

My daughter is now 20. She moved out of home six months ago and is working hard to save money to travel. She is a smart and confident young woman who knows herself and is also incredibly kind and thoughtful. As a parent, I would love to take the credit, but I know that it was not all me. I am certain that I have Taylor Swift to thank for being a great role model and a solace to her when she needed it most.

Over the last couple of years, my daughter’s Taylor Swift obsession seemed to have lessened as she became an adult. I asked her last week if I could get tickets to the Eras concert; would she want to go? Her response was, “Of course, once a Swiftie, always a Swiftie!”

It is now 20 minutes after 12 pm on Sunday afternoon. The concert starts in six hours, and I have missed the 12 pm deadline for resale. But I am not sorry. This week, as I have tried to get tickets, I have had many flashbacks to those Swiftie years. When the concert starts, I will be reminiscing about all those times spent with my daughter, making outfits and decorating signs, listening to Taylor in the car on the way home from school, and eagerly waiting for new songs to drop. I will be thinking about all the young girls attending the concert with their parents. Many of them will be seeing Taylor for the first time, and I will be quietly ecstatic that they are making memories that will last a lifetime.

Bridget Robertson is a freelance writer based in Bendigo.

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