On Tuesday night, Li'l Empress had her Kindergarten musical. For weeks now, she's been coming home with sweet and silly little songs like "Mittens" and "Shake My Sillies Out" that had me smiling with anticipation. They eased the kids into the idea of performing for a gym full of parents and grandparents slowly, introducing the idea of singing on stage, practicing on the risers, and then performing for the student body of the school during the day. They were very well-prepared for Tuesday night's big performance.
As LadyBug helped Li'l Empress pick a suitably fashion-forward outfit and do her hair with the biggest bow they could find, the questions began.
"Are you gonna be 'dere tonight, LadyBug?"
"Is it gonna be dark in 'da gym?"
"Will you wave to me, Mommy?"
"Will you sit where I can see you, Mommy?"
"Is Daddy coming to my show tonight?"
"Will people like our show tonight?"
Peppered at me, rapid-fire.
With a little "something" behind each subsequent question.
These questions are how Li'l Empress deals with anxiety she feels about facing something new and/or scary. And seriously, who ISN'T a little nervous about the idea of singing a bunch of silly songs in front of a gym full of grown-ups and family members? I know I sure would be. So, I answered the few questions as they came, very matter-of-factly, and began praying in earnest.
We did a little pre-show photo op, letting her strut her stuff while I figured out the camera on my still-new, smarter-than-me smartphone.
(Heh, in retrospect, I should have tried out the video option before we left the house, too. Trying to capture a clip of the night, in the dark, while not blocking the view of anyone around me turned me into a nervous, sweaty mess. I'm such a dork.)
She was pretty quiet on the short ride over to the school. When Daddy dropped us off at the doors to get to the classroom for lining up, she started tightening up. Her hand clutched mine. Her arms got a little stiff. Her free hand drifted up to her mouth and in went the fingers. As I handed her off to the teacher, her big brown eyes filled and her lower lip started quivering. Oh, sweet mercy. I swallowed deep, smiled brightly, and told her to look for me and give me a big happy wave when she got on the stage. As I hugged her and walked quickly out of the room, I felt as nervous as if I was the one going up on stage in front of a gym full of people!
I have to say, she looked and acted just fine as they all filed on stage and made their crooked, unevenly spaced lines on the risers. She kept her eyes on her teacher and sang most of the first song with gusto. And then. Then it appeared as if she "noticed" where she was and what she was doing. And in front of whom she was doing it.
Hands went into the mouth, silent tears flowed immediately. It was so sad to watch her try and figure out what to do. When they got the signal to be seated, one of the teachers handed her a tissue.
I jockeyed around for a better angle with which to see her and waved at her a little bit. She looked at me and I gave her our "thumbs up, you can do this" signal. And prayed!
And something shifted. I can't describe it any other way except to say that she just decided, "I can do this. I can do this." She nodded at me and sat up a little straighter in time for the next song. She literally squared her shoulders and just.did.it.
When I saw her make that choice to go for it, it was all I could do NOT to jump up and start cheering for her! And go for it, she did. For the rest of the program, the whole Gang watched with delight as she belted out every tune, caught every cue from the teacher perched up front, did ALL the motions, and waved and smiled at us all while doing it. Oh.My.Heart!
When she got out to the car, the whole Gang started clapping and cheering for her. It was adorable to see her preening and accepting their praise. She didn't stop smiling the whole ride home. I especially LOVED that they were all praising her for the right stuff.
"You sang so nice, Li'l Empress!"
"Wow, you were so brave up there tonight!"
"You did a great job singing with your friends!"
"Li'l Empress, I'm so proud of you! You did so well!"
Yeah. It was pretty amazing. I love my kids.
Later, when I was tucking her in, I told her that I noticed the moment when she CHOSE to hang in there and participate in the rest of the show. I told her it reminded me of when David fought against Goliath. I said, "I noticed that your fear up on that stage was kind of like that big ugly giant, Goliath. But you decided to be brave like David and fight the giant even though it felt so big."
While I acted out the story of David and Goliath sitting with her on her bed, she copied my "swinging the slingshot" and killing the giant. I told her she was just like David, only her giant was called "Fear." She killed that fear by choosing to trust Jesus to be with her. Her eyes were huge. As I covered her up and prayed over her, I took special care to thank Jesus for being trustworthy with Li'l Empress's giant of Fear. When I said "Amen," she sat right back up and said, "Mommy, I killed that giant. Only my giant was being afraid. David's giant was Goliath, right?" And laid right back down with huge smile and a very self-satisfied sigh.
It was a very good night in The Gang's House.