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How My Daughter Became a Jedi at a Star Wars Celebration

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Star Wars” wasn’t on my radar (I was more of a “Star Trek” fan) until I started dating my now husband in college. He was delighted to be the first person to show me the original movies. We saw each of the prequels in the theater. As any true fan will tell you, they were pretty disappointing. It didn’t matter—we saw them all when they were released. As I learned from him, “Star Wars” fans don’t mess around.

When my children (now ages 12, 9, and 3) were born, one by one they were indoctrinated into the “Star Wars” universe-dressing as characters for Halloween or learning their colors and letters from “Star Wars” themed books. My husband showed them the movies, as he felt they were appropriate. As the kids grew older, their interest in the series intensified.

We even had the opportunity to take them to the “Star Wars” Celebration in 2012, which was held in our hometown of Orlando. They were four and seven, and we had the best time. My oldest got selected to train to be a Jedi on stage. My 4-year-old cried with disappointment the entire time his brother was on stage fighting Darth Vader.

The boys got a huge thrill out of seeing the newest movies on opening night while their sister, just a baby, was home with the grandparents. Even though they were school nights, we took them anyway, because we knew they would remember it always.

This year, much to everyone’s delight, the “Star Wars” celebration was held again in Orlando. The boys were excited. Since this is a massive convention with tens of thousands of people, we never even considered taking my daughter with us–we assumed it would be a “just the boys” kind of excursion, one of many we’d had during my daughter’s infant and toddler years.

We’ve experienced the extensive waits to get in. The parking is always insane. She’d be miserable, and we’d be miserable too. Everyone got the memo except for her. As she saw us getting ready for the “Star Wars” day, and we attempted to pump her up about a special morning with her beloved grandparents, she turned to me and said, “I want to go with you. I love you.”

While I was tempted to answer “I know”—instead, I turned to my husband. Was she ready? Were we? We checked online to make sure she didn’t need a ticket, and made the decision to take her. What’s the worst that could happen? I gave her the good news. She was elated. We got her dressed in her Rey costume. As I buckled her car seat she said “Mommy, I’m so happy to be going with you guys to “‘Star Wars.'”

How could we have ever considered leaving her at home? She is a baby is no more. She’s a little girl now. Shame on me for not noticing. I’m so glad she filled me in on the development, because that girl had the time of her life.

For hours we made our way through the convention floor. She posed with her brothers for tons of photo-ops. She played with Legos. She high-fived Chewbacca. She rode on speeders. That girl owned the floor. She even showed up onto the livestream of the event, happily pounding on her Daddy’s head as she sat on his shoulders.

We made our way to the stage where a few lucky kids would be selected to participate in Jedi training and fight Darth Vader. I had a lump in my throat as the very same actor who had led the training before came onto the stage. He started selecting kids. He was filling up the spots pretty quickly. As he came towards my son, I repeated in my head, “Please choose Aaron, please choose Aaron.” It worked! Five years after he had cried on the floor of the same convention center, Aaron finally got his chance. He told us it was worth the wait.

My daughter declared that it was now her turn.

It appears that we will be attending the “Star Wars” Celebration the next time it comes to Orlando. Will we get so lucky a third time? Impossible to see, the future is.

After hours on the floor, my boys declared they were done. We agreed it was time to leave. Only one of us didn’t get that memo again: my daughter.

“I’m not done,” she declared. “I want to see more “Star Wars”.”

Whenever I think about my little girl, I’ll remember the day she informed me that she wasn’t a baby anymore. I’ll be thankful that we listened, because the “Star Wars” Celebration was one of the first of many geeky adventures for our family of five. I will never again judge her by her size. Much to learn, I still have. OK, OK, I’m done. May the force be with you all.

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