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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

The Full Suburban: Different personalities held together by the same glue, Barbie and Taylor

The Ditto daughters are all smiles as they headed into Lumen Field in Seattle this summer for the Taylor Swift Eras Tour.  (Julia Ditto)
Julia Ditto For The Spokesman-Review

I’m not going to lie; I feel like my heart has been torn in half after saying goodbye to my son last week when he left for two years to serve as a missionary in Santiago, Chile.

But I don’t want to write another sad column about how heartsick I am that my children are starting to leave the nest. So instead, for today, I’m going to soothe my anguish by writing about the balm for all sorrow: Taylor Swift.

I had the opportunity this summer to take my daughters, Lucy and Jane, to the Taylor Swift Eras concert in Seattle. I like Taylor Swift, but I’m not a super fan like my daughters are, so I didn’t get a ticket myself.

Lucy and Jane insisted that it would be a fun girls’ trip if we all went to Seattle together. And even though I highly suspect they were more interested in access to my credit card than spending time with dear old mom, I complied and went along for the ride, because I wouldn’t miss this opportunity to hang out with my daughters for the world.

As if the Eras concert wasn’t enough, the weekend was made even more epic by the fact that “Barbie” came out the day before the concert, so we – along with the entire female population of downtown Seattle – went out on opening night and saw it. And we loved it, just like we suspected we would.

To quote 16-year-old Jane once the weekend was over: “I think going to the Barbie movie and the Eras Tour in the span of 24 hours has officially altered my brain chemistry.”

It very well may have, because the whole weekend was a heartwarming look into the world of female solidarity. The feeling of camaraderie was palpable, which is not usually the experience you have when you’re visiting a big city. There were women walking around dressed in pink, Taylor Swift music playing in every store, and chatting going on among complete strangers everywhere you turned.

As we toured around the city, my girls kept talking about how safe and in-tune they felt with everyone.

“This is so fun. Everybody is here for the same purpose,” they said. “We all just get each other.”

I thought that was odd, since “getting each other” is not something Lucy and Jane have always been good at. They are 3½ years apart in age, and – like many sisters –have different personalities.

Years ago, when Lucy was in elementary school and Jane was in preschool, Lucy would get home from her day and completely ignore Jane. She was just too busy with her other friends to notice her little sister standing there, dying to talk to her.

So I made talking to Jane one of Lucy’s daily chores. I glued a picture of Jane to a popsicle stick and stuck it in a little pocket on Lucy’s chore chart. Once Lucy had paid attention to Jane, even for just a minute or two, she could transfer Jane’s popsicle stick to the “Done” side of the chart and move on with her day. I’m guessing that was not great parenting, but it got the job done, so please join me in turning a blind eye.

Over the years, and despite their differing personalities, Jane and Lucy have become closer and closer. It was a capstone moment for me as a mother to see them together during the Barbie/Eras Tour weekend, both hyped to an equal level and absolutely giddy with excitement.

As we rode the light rail and then walked the last few blocks to the concert venue, they could hardly contain themselves. They chatted about which songs they hoped Taylor would sing (Jane had been studying the set list for months, while Lucy preferred to be kept in the dark) while I walked quietly behind them, capturing pictures of my two girls simply loving being together.

Lucy reported later that Jane started crying the instant they walked into Lumen Field. I stood outside with other spectators and listened for a while until an unmistakable roar from the crowd indicated that Taylor Swift had finally come out onto the stage. I got teary thinking of my girls inside, sitting together and having the time of their lives.

According to my daughters, the world is a better place because Taylor Swift is in it. And now, long past the days of bribing one sister to talk to the other, I think they’d say the same thing about each other.

Julia Ditto shares her life with her husband, six children and a random menagerie of farm animals in Spokane Valley. She can be reached at