"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.
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.
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.