When people think of musician Kid Rock, they typically picture the long hair, skinny, sunglass wearing "Bad-Ass; " but that's just his persona.  Ask Ryan, he will tell you otherwise. 

When the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (HLS&R) concert series announced that Kid Rock was going to perform this year, I got two tickets.  While neither husband Mike, nor daughter Lauren wanted to go, I wasn't too concerned about finding someone to go with me. 

About a week later, while Ryan and I were talking in the car, I mentioned that I had two tickets and his immediate response was, "You're taking me aren't you?" 

"I Wanna Be A Cowboy, Baby.. With the (insert garbled, unknown words...)and the sunshine shining," sings Ryan.

If you have been around me long enough, you will know that along with Prince, Guns-N-Roses, etc. Kid Rock is in the top five. While riding in the car, or listening to my playlist, it is likely that a Kid Rock song will be played, as I have most of his CD's. 

While discussing the possibility of Ryan going with me, dependent upon his medical appointments, I knew there was a possibility that maybe Ryan could meet the artist.  And, while I don't like to "play" the Cancer-card often, for Ryan to meet Kid Rock I was willing to do it.

Thanks to one of my long time best friend, Nicki Sikinger, and her boss, Don Jordon, the wheels were put into motion for Ryan to have a "Meet and Greet" with Kid Rock before the concert on Wednesday, February 29. 

Days before the concert were filled with anticipation and explanation to Ryan that, "This isn't a sure thing."  The decision to have a Meet and Greet with the performer is entirely at the discretion of the artist and their management; no promises. On top of that, with Ryan's treatment routine, if his ANC levels were too low, then he would not be allowed to go due to his immune system being depleted.

Two days before the concert, I got word that Mr. Jordon signed off on the Meet and Greet request, and the HLS&R administrative offices had received it.  

Now it's a waiting game.  The previous night, I was told, the folks for the Meet and Greet with Lady Antebellum weren't notified until 90 minutes before the concert.   OK, we can deal with that; we have to get there first, though.

Ryan has a port (or portacath), which is a small medical device that is installed beneath the skin. When the port is "accessed", this means that a needle remains within the port (via a vein), through which drugs can be injected, and blood samples can be drawn several times.  Thus, allowing Ryan not to suffer numerous needle sticks.  As the port is relatively close to the skin surface and somewhat tender, Ryan is highly protective of his port and can't be as active as usual. 

He stated that he would not want to go to the Rodeo if he could not be de-accessed.   Thanks to Dr. Dryer and Dr. Stubner, that would not be a problem... I, of course, his counts were high enough. 

"Bawitdaba da bang a dang diggy diggy diggy said the boogy said up jump the boogy," sang Ryan....

The morning of the concert, Ryan and I head into Texas Children's to get his blood count and, fingers-crossed, his port de-accessed.  

YEAH!   His numbers are great and the needle is removed from the port.  He is FREE!

He and I head to the rodeo at 4:30, ride a few rides and wait for the call.

"Have they called yet?" Ryan would ask about every 20 - 30 minutes.

Finally, at 5:45 my cell phone rings. 

"I have your Meet and Greet passes for you and Ryan," states Brooke from the Administrative Offices.  

"I Wanna Be A Cowboy, Baby.. With the (insert garbled, unknown words...) and the sunshine shining," sings Ryan with a huge grin on his face.

We wait, with about 25 other people, to meet Kid Rock at 7:45 pm.  This means we can't watch the rodeo part of the evening, but Ryan isn't too concerned about that.

"He looks kinda mean sometimes," he states.  "Do you think he is?"

A lesson on "persona" and stage act follows, reassuring him that Kid Rock is a nice guy (Lord, I hope so...) and has a son himself. 

We finally get inside, where we are asked to line-up against a wall in order for Kid Rock's Director of Security to speak with us before we go in.

"Due to timing," he starts out, "you won't be able to use your private cameras or ask for autographs.  A HSL&R photographer will take your picture and provide you with information as to how to obtain your photo."   

With that, he turns around to leave.  Unbeknownst to me, a HLS&R volunteer mentions Ryan's situation to  "Mr. Security-Man," and we are asked to move to back of the line.

In a hushed voiced, he leans into me and states, "I understand the situation and ask that you and Ryan be the very last ones to go in.  This way the others will not see you spending more time with Kid Rock."

"Great, thank you!" I said.

After explaining why we were moving to the back of the line to Ryan, his smile grew and eyes brightened.

"Why are those older girls screaming and giggling?" asked Ryan, as we observed two 30-something, year old women coming out of the area.

Finally, we are next.

I give Ryan the "Devil Without A Cause" CD, along with a Sharpie.  "Do you think he'll sign it? he asks.

As the last guest left, Kid Rock looks at Ryan, points, and motions for him to come over.  In doing so, he gets down on one knee, puts his arm around Ryan and they start talking.  I can't hear what they are talking about, but notice that Ryan is responding to his questions and shaking his head.

Oh thank goodness he's not pulling a shy act ~ Whew! 

Kid Rock takes the CD and starts signing, "To Ryan.  God Bless, Your friend, Kid Rock ~ 2012" 

Still on his knees, a few photos are taken, and the two of them laugh.

Kid Rock then asks, "Who's with you?" Ryan responds, "Oh, that's my Godmother, Mandy."

With Ryan in front of us, and Kid Rock's arm around my waist a photo is about to be taken.  "Don't play with my fat", I said half jokingly, knowing he has dated the likes of Pamela Anderson, and actor's such as Jaime Pressly and Jaime King.

"You are too hard on yourself," as he gently squeezed and smiled.

As we thanked him for his time and autographed, he said to Ryan, "Enjoy the show Ryan, I'm doing it for you. And if you don't have fun, I'll come find you!"

With a smile and wave, he walked down the hall with his entourage and disappeared.

"So," I asked, "What did you and he talk about?"

"I don't know. I don't remember," said Ryan.  "He was nice though, not as tough as I thought he'd be."  Then he added, "And his hair is soft.  It looks oily, but it's not," he stated.  "It brushed up against me when we were about to take the picture."

About 10 minutes later, Ryan turned to me and said, "Hey Mandy, I was the only one who got his autograph and talked to him. That was cool!"  

I guess the experience was sinking in.  As I looked at Ryan, his eyes were glowing, and I hadn't seen him smile that big in a while.  He held onto the signed CD all night, proudly showing it to whomever he ran into, and telling them about meeting Kid Rock. 

Thanks Nicki, Mr. Jordon and Kid Rock for making this magical night for Ryan happen.