I am SO proud of my girl! This week was her first chance to really sing in front of a crowd, and she did awesome! All total she performed “The Star Spangled Banner” in front of more than 1,000 people. WOW!!! There were so many highlights to this week. I should write about them in a few different posts, but I just can’t. I have to write about it all, right now!
This was something Laura set out to do a year ago when she saw the talent show for the first time. I’m not sure why she wanted to sing “The Star Spangled Banner,” but she was bound and determined to do so! She started the show off, with everyone standing and silent, while she stood in front of the curtain with a spotlight. No background tracks, just Laura on stage, alone. Holy cow!!! Did I say how proud I am of her???? I know what it feels like to sing in front of that many people, and it can be very nerve-wracking. Especially when it’s just you and nothing else. You either succeed or fail on your own.
Well folks, she soared!!!
At the dress rehearsal earlier in the week it finally hit Laura what she was about to do. The nerves started to hit, and so I became her “coach” and walked her through each step of it. First, the bathroom was overcrowded and she had to get dressed, fast. So, I told her that in “show business” you often can’t change in the privacy of a bathroom stall, and as long as it’s just girls….strip!!! She was a bit shy at first, but saw that I was providing some cover, so she dove right in! It was then time for her to step onstage and sing. I walked her through how to stand and where to look, and then it was time! She hit the key right, stayed in key, and finished strong. As soon as she came offstage I was there, and wrapped her up. We walked back to the bathroom to change again, and that’s when the nerves really hit! She started crying, and I thought she was distraught over how she did. So, I reassured her over and over and over again, until she finally burst out and exclaimed, “MOM!!! I know that I’m crying on the outside, but I am SOOOO happy on the inside!!!” Then she looked at me and said, “mom, I need to sit down. My legs are so weak!!!” How precious! I know about the weak knees after the adrenaline has shut off!
A great lesson came as we were changing, and we heard some girls in the bathroom say, “she did awful.” I didn’t think they were talking about Laura, but I chose that time to teach her about staying strong within yourself. I looked her in the eye and asked how she thought she did. “Great!” she said. Then I told her how proud I was of her. And then I said that when you perform in front of others you will always have someone who doesn’t like what you did. But what’s most important is that YOU are happy, within yourself, with how you did. You then look to those who are closest to you, and listen to what they say. Those people who criticize and put you down? You don’t even need to listen to them, because they are not the ones that matter.
The next step of our week came with the all-school assembly on Thursday afternoon. Laura’s school has over 500 students, and so this performance was big. If you’ve ever performed in front of an audience of your peers, you get how big, and scary, this can be! I wanted to film this performance and so I was out in the audience. I didn’t have a chance to give Laura the key of the song beforehand, and I hoped that she would get it right. Nerves took over though, and Laura started the song too high. BUT…what is amazing to me is that she kept it in key, even when it got to the high parts! Many people would have backed off, or lost the key. Not Laura! She gutted through it, had a false start at one point, and just kept going! I could see that she was nervous, and MY heart was racing for her! Even though it was too high, she still hit all the notes just fine. She couldn’t sing it as strong as in a lower key, but she still did fantastic!!! When she was done I met her backstage and she flew into my arms again. I looked in her in the eye and told her how proud of her I was, and then asked her how she thought she did. “Great!’ she replied. I love the confidence in her! As we were changing she told me that a boy she knew from last year gave her a thumbs down gesture right when she was about to sing. Then she looked at me and said, “but mom, I know that I did great, and I am happy with how I sang it!” YES!!!!! I want my daughter to have the confidence in what she does, regardless of what the rest of the world might think or say. 🙂
The final performance came that night, in front of a few hundred people, mostly parents and other adults. This was Laura’s last shot, and I wanted to be backstage with her the whole journey. I had family in the audience ready to tape, so I could focus entirely on her. No, I didn’t get to see her sing it this time, but it was more important for me, and her, that I be there supporting behind the stage.
Laura’s voice was starting to get tired from all the singing this week, so I made her some hot tea with lemon and honey. She started to get nervous, so I wrapped her in my arms and just prayed in her ear. Psalm 27 verse 1 is starting to be her “life verse,” and I whispered that to her. “The Lord is my light and salvation. Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life. Of whom shall I be afraid?” This is a key verse for Laura. Yes, she has a TON of confidence in herself, but at times fear takes hold. I don’t want her to live her life in fear, but in the strength and confidence that God has given her. We sang through the first few lines a few times, and I made a game out of the starting pitch, to get it “in her head.” Then all of a sudden, it was time to go! Laura looked at me and said she felt like throwing up, so I wrapped her up again and prayed, “God take this away NOW! We know you have healed this and in faith we believe that Laura IS okay!” I gave her the starting pitch, and out she went.
Oh, was I a nervous parent! I paced about an 8-foot rectangle backstage, singing in my head along with her and encouraging her. She hit the key right on, sang with boldness and confidence, and finished strong. When she hit the last note, I pumped my fist up and down and exclaimed, “YES!!!!!” As she came offstage I wrapped her up again, and then she said, “Mom, I need to sit down. My legs are so weak!!!” Yes darling, I get it. 🙂
We went back to our seats, and watched the rest of the show. At one point Laura leaned over and said something to me that I will never forget. As a group was dancing to the song “Umbrella” she leaned over and whispered, “Mom, there’s going to be people who don’t like what I do and put me down, but you are my umbrella, covering me with your love and teaching me to be strong and confident. You rock my world!” OH MY GOODNESS!!! That just melted my heart, and touched me to the core.
I don’t know where life will take this little girl, but hang on folks. This is the start of an amazing ride……