Justin Bieber has left the building.
No, the Beebs hasn’t died or retired or volunteered for a manned mission to Mars. (Does that count as a homecoming?) I’m speaking a bit more literally than that.
Namely, Missy’s life-sized cardboard standup of the young JB – a historic landmark in Chez Rochat – has taken its final bow.
How the heck did we get a cardboard Canadian pop star in our house in the first place? To make a long story short, Missy gets … well, enthusiastic about things. She has a lot of energy and a very straightforward approach to sharing it, possibly enhanced by her developmental disability. So when she decides she loves something, she doesn’t hold back.
Like shouting “WOW!” to an entire restaurant after one bite of peanut butter pie.
Or pointing gleefully at a Darth Vader magazine cover, like a metal detector locked onto pirate gold.
Or hugging EVERY single member of the Face Vocal Band backstage after a concert. (Pre-COVID, of course.)
So when a certain teenage YouTube sensation hit mainstream success over a decade ago, Missy was all over it. Light, dancy music has an easy time making it onto her playlist anyway, so the house was soon full of the strains of “Baby” and “Never Say Never.”
Heather and I did what parents and guardians through the ages have done – we rolled with it and tried to make it fun while it lasted. That included a birthday party with a standup of the Beebs himself, for laughs and photographs.
And when the party was over, it was clear that Cardboard Justin wasn’t leaving.
He came to occupy a corner of Missy’s room, eventually festooned with a small tiara from one of her prom nights. Never mind that Bieber Fever had taken a turn for the weird in the rest of the nation; young-and-innocent Justin lived on in that piece of memory and real estate.
And then, like some pop-music version of Puff The Magic Dragon, things shifted.
Missy discovered Harry Potter. And Star Wars. And a whole lot of music from a whole lot of other bands, past and present. She never outright rejected Yesteryear Justin, but the grown-up JB just didn’t have the same appeal. The cardboard star faded into the background, barely noticed except when trying to explain his presence to guests with a chuckle.
Finally, the moment came. Missy’s room needed a reorganization. Her stuffed animals needed Justin’s corner. And Justin himself was starting to … fold. Just a bit.
Yes, it was time to go.
It didn’t take long. And without its extra occupant, the room seemed a little brighter. Ready for a fresh start.
Funny how that works. Some passions prove lifelong, treasured for ages. Others have their time and move on. And it can be challenging to tell the difference. We hold onto a lot of things that just take up space and energy: unused stuff, worn-out ideas, lingering resentments and more.
Some just need to be gone. Others still leave a fingerprint behind, a memory of past joys. Either way, clearing the space can let a little more light in.
So we’ll salute the fun. Look to the future. And wait with interest to see what Missy the Excited embraces next.
Whatever it is, I’m sure it’ll come along Justin time.