There is no better way to truly embrace being content with what is than to stay relaxed while your child participates in some sort of competition. This is Liam. He is the performer in our family, and the best way for me to exercise my ability to simply “be” when he performs. He’s a singer and actor and he loves being on stage. He has a terrific voice and he’s not afraid to use it. Singing is his passion and as he has grown his urge to perform in public has increased. For a while John and I did nothing about it for fear of becoming “pageant parents”. However, his singing drew the attention of our friends and family and they urged us to encourage him and let his voice be heard.
This has been a interesting process for me. As Liam takes to the stage I can feel my adrenaline start to pump and I move anxiously to the edge of my chair. Silently I urge him on, privately hoping he’s going to give it his best shot with every note. This is partly because I want the world to hear the perfection I hear from the bathroom every day, but also because I have had a huge sense of myself wrapped up in what he does. I had a fear that if Liam failed, I too would be a failure. In some way, if Liam forgets his words, or doesnt’ reach the right key then I have done something wrong because he must not have been well enough prepared for the performance. His mistakes would become my fault. Last year he did many many public performances. You can imagine…this almost killed me! I’m sad that I pretty well missed the joy of seeing my child perform and do the thing he loves the most because I was swept away with my own fears about how I too would be viewed in public. Yes, there were times he sang a bit flat, and there were times he sung the same verse twice but regardless of this, every single time he sounded like an angel, and I almost missed them all.
As Liam goes for auditions or prepares to perform I have taken an interest in how the parents of other children manage. I don’t think I am alone in my experience, and there have been many times where I have felt the adults in the room are sizing up the competition for their child. Call backs and competition finals create tense green rooms. Why? I am working hard to separate myself from Liam’s experiences. I owe that to him. He needs me in the audience – not as a participant. I have faith that he is doing the best for him right at that point in time. I no longer worry if he will remember the next verse, or if he will make the right moves on stage. I just want him to be in the moment and loving what he does. If he is enjoying the moment that is enough for me. After all, it is his joy that is his gift to the audience and no words or notes can change that. I am so grateful to see this with each performance.