Friday, January 20, 2006

Stage Fright of the Maternal Kind

My son was in a school choral concert yesterday. In addition to singing with the group, he had a brief (two-line) solo during one of the songs, which meant he stood at the front of the group with the other soloists. Each did his or her bit, then passed the wireless microphone to the next. They were adorable.

When I was in high school, I had large roles in several plays. I was never as nervous going onstage for a two-hour production as I was waiting in the audience for him to complete his two-line solo. I so wanted him to be perfect; I was suffering for him in a way I never did when my own reputation or potential sense of teenage embarrassment (the worst kind) were on the line. I was clutching my hands together, holding my breath. (And no, I'm not a stage mom--I didn't fuss over him beforehand. That would no doubt have been the opposite of helpful.)

I needn't have worried--he was perfect. Looking dashing in his new pinstripe pants, holding the microphone like a pro, singing out his lines with no hesitation. All the kids were great. Even a kid who messed up a little recovered and made a joke about it with panache.

If I was as nervous for myself when I did those plays as I was for him, I'd never have gotten through. Even after 11 years, it's still a bit of a shock to realize how intense being a parent really is.


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