Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sing as if Your Mother's not Listening

"Can you not come to see my performance?" she asked me the other day. "You can just stand outside and hear me."


"You're saying you want me to pick up your friends, and take you all up to Sonoma State, but then not go inside?"


"You'll just make me too nervous."


"But having your friends watch won't?" I asked.


"It's weird. Having them there doesn't make me nervous," she said.


Daughter is singing in a competition this morning. She is one of only two or three kids from her school daring to stand all alone on stage and sing to a hostile audience comprised of judges (who are likely the least hostile), fellow competitors (who totally want her to flub because they want to win), and parents of the fellow competitors (who won't say it aloud but who totally want her to flub so their child wins).


Her mother apparently doesn't provide her comfort. If this weren't Daughter, I would be more hurt or insulted. But this is Daughter, who didn't want me at her play in the fall when she had the bittiest of bit parts. Daughter, who prefers I not watch at the talent show. Daughter, who when she was 5 stood ramrod still during a dance camp performance and refused to budge. Daughter, who won't even sing for me the tiniest snippet of one of the songs she'll be performing as Annie in the school musical this spring.


Daughter.


And I would have been more hurt or insulted if, when Pete arrived home last night after another week away in Seattle, she hadn't made the same request of him.


Daughter.


So we'll agree to these terms. We'll look her right in the eye and say, "Okay, we'll stand outside." And then Pete is going to sneak in and watch her.


Me? I'm going to stay outside, fearful that my being seen by her will bring her back so many years so that she stands there, ramrod still, shutting down, losing her confidence, causing harm which takes years to resolve.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh man that's a tough one. What about a disguise? A blond wig? Baseball cap? :-)
So great that daughter is going for it--hope she does great!
--Michele R.

Patois said...

Michele,

I am so darn tempted to sneak in, but I don't know yet if I'll have the guts to chance it.

JTS said...

Darn, raising kids, especially daughters, can be so challenging! I wish you knew someone who could be there to video it for you. I know how badly you want to see her perform, and yet at the same time honoring her level of trust and honesty is a huge thing that will mean a great deal to her. There were times I would have wanted to ask my parents not to attend, but I know they would have ignored me and laid on the guilt, so I didn't even try to communicate my feelings with them. I hope she does splendidly! I promise in the years ahead she'll come back to you and be closer than you ever dreamed possible, hang in there!

Shorty the Dinosaur said...

If it helps at all, I have been on the reverse end of this sort of situation. I thought long and hard about asking my mum not to go to a poetry slam that I was reading at, or a play that I had more than one line in.
I was always afraid that I might not do well. I look up to her so much that even the thought of her seeing me mess up scares me. But I realized that she raised me and has seen me mess up plenty of times. And seeing that huge smile on her face at the end of my performance immediately wipes away all of the fears.
I have a feeling that she is just afraid of messing up in front of you. She wants to make you proud.

This is Morgan, by the way. (:

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