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Lauritsen: First concert experience proved to be perfect family outing

My husband and I decided to surprise our kids with tickets to the Chris Tomlin concert at the FargoDome. We've been listening to a Christian music station for a while and my kids' have many of the songs memorized so we knew they would enjoy the concert.

A few days prior to the concert I told my kids that we had a surprise for them. Of course they tried to get it out of me, but I held strong even through their endless guesses of what it could be. My daughter's first guess was Sandy's Donuts. Now, don't get me wrong, we often use a trip to the West Fargo institution as a reward, or bribe. However, I had to giggle that after I announced we had a huge surprise her first thought was going to have donuts. My son guessed many things including hunting, going to grandma and grandpas and my favorite, climbing a tree. Not sure why he thought I would be so excited about that one. And of course they both guessed the circus, even though it had already left town, bummer.

Finally the day arrived and after we picked them up from school and daycare we went out to eat at a local grill. My husband tried to convince them that going to the restaurant was the big surprise and they weren't overly impressed.

The whole day I had been playing Chris Tomlin music on my Ipod while we were driving, yet they still didn't catch on. However once we pulled into the FargoDome parking lot my son started to pull everything together. The concert had been advertised for months on the station so my son knew the date was April 16th. As we were climbing out of the van he asked me what the date was and I could see the smile start on his face. When I told him it was indeed April 16th he exclaimed "Yes! We're going to the Chris Tomlin concert!"

Before we found our seats inside we decided to use the restrooms once more. By this point my son had told his sister and she was equally excited. As her and I entered the bathroom she told me "Mommy, I LOVE Chris Tomlin. And KISS." What? Okay, so they like the song Back in the New York Groove but that is the only KISS song on our Ipod.

We all had an awesome time at the concert. It turned out we knew almost every song he sang so the kids were singing along the whole night. During the pinnacle of Chris Tomlin's very powerful rendition of Amazing Grace which was bringing tears to my eyes my daughter yelled out "Mommy, are we at the FargoDome?" Timing I tell ya.

My kids were caught off guard a bit by the people who would say or yell out praises during the concert. They just have never been around people being that vocal before. During songs people would yell out "Praise God" or "Halleluiah" or "Thank Jesus." Right behind us there was one lady who seemed to never stop and would even talk loudly when Chris Tomlin was addressing the audience. I could see the curiosity, and sometimes annoyance, building in my kids. In one instance my son told my husband "Dad, we really need to talk about her in the van after this is done." And after another stretch my daughter whispered to me "Mom, she talks too much."

As we walked to our car after the concert my daughter couldn't get over the fact that the singer didn't look like Chris Tomlin. Of course her only visual of him prior to the concert was his picture on the album on our Ipod. Both kids had a great time, as did my husband and I. We were happy we could share their first concert experience together as a family, and with uplifting and fun music.

The kids slowly started to drift off in exhaustion as we drove home. They did inform us however that the next concert they want to go to is either Johnny Cash or KISS. Hmmm. Since they were too tired for an all out explanation I simply told them I didn't think either of the artists would be in Fargo any time soon.

Stephanie Lauritsen from West Fargo enjoys writing, in particular, sharing her insight into parenting issues that present themselves daily in the upbringing and nurturing of her two small children.