Ella's siblings groan every time it's her turn to pick a TV show because she usually opts for something like Nova Science Now or Through the Wormhole. Her favorite podcast is Star Talk by Neil deGrasse Tyson. She loves to spout off facts about planets and stars and string theory and 5th dimensions - stuff that's way over my head.
I have to admit that I have a slight crush on Dr. Tyson. I love how enthusiastic he is about being smart. He genuinely gets a kick out what he does. I've read his books and listened to his podcasts. And when I went to NYC for the marathon, I might have actually lurked outside the Hayden Planetarium in the hopes of seeing him.
Last spring, Ella started her own website, The Magnolia Post, and without my knowing it, she sent an official interview request to Dr. Tyson.
It's a cute, completely appropriate e-mail from an 11-year-old. When she told me she'd sent it, I figured there was no way she would get any kind of response.
A few weeks later, as we were driving to dinner with friends, Ella was checking her e-mail on my phone and started yelling about how Dr. Tyson's office had replied and said he'd do an interview. I was sure that it was a nice form response and that Ella had misinterpreted it. When we got to dinner, I looked at the e-mail and was stunned.
It's a real response inviting Ella to do an interview with Dr. Tyson. I posted an excited announcement on FB and started planning our trip to New York City. Ella was so excited she was jumping up and down, which was tough to do since she was on crutches.
Ella and I both sent e-mails back to Ms. Stachow. Mine said that she had made an 11-year-old very happy and that if Dr. Tyson was actually willing to meet with Ella, we'd make the trip to NYC, just tell us when. Ella's e-mail essentially said the same thing - "My mom said I could come to NYC to meet with Dr. Tyson."
And then we waited and planned. One friend was so geeked about the whole thing that he suggested having Ella do a Kickstarter project and offered ideas how she should make it interactive. He also sent a link to an interview where Dr. Tyson talked about how important Carl Sagan was to him when he was young.
My crush on him got a bit bigger.
Ella started researching how much it would cost to fly to New York. I promised Lily that she could go on the trip too. Knittergran was offering to fly up and meet us there. I was thrilled about the chance to take my big girls to my favorite place. Ella told everyone who stood still long enough that she was going to New York to interview Dr. Tyson. It was all very, very exciting.
And then nothing.
She and I both sent second e-mails to Dr. Tyson's assistant. I even called up to the museum and left a message for her.
Not a word.
My first reaction was that of a mama-bear protecting her young. I was going to go all scorched-earth on Dr. Tyson and take him down. I'd put it all over Twitter and Facebook and he'd see the error of his ways.
But then I realized that A. I have 30 people a day read my blog and he has millions of followers, and B. pissing off Neil deGrasse Tyson was probably not the best way to get him to meet with my daughter.
So I haven't done anything, until now. It breaks my heart just a little every time someone asks Ella whether she's set a date for the interview and she has to explain that she's never heard back. It makes me a little mad at Dr. Tyson. Between moving, changing schools, illness, injury, surgery, and a lot of other stuff, Ella's had a pretty tough year. Getting to go to NYC and meet her hero would have gone a long way toward making Ella Ella again.
This is one of those times that I wish I had the twitter power of The Bloggess or Wil Wheaton or The Oatmeal. I'm pretty sure that one tweet from them would get some reaction.
So if you know someone who knows someone, could you maybe pass this along?