I’m going to a ballet recital this weekend and I’m looking forward to it because this will be my first stress-free recital! Ever!
As a young piano player, I practiced for months to prepare for recitals and worried about making a mistake. I didn’t totally stress out, but performing in front of strangers was not something I truly enjoyed. I’m more of a closet pianist.
When my older son, Martin, took piano lessons he participated in recitals for a few years and I could not enjoy the events until after he finished playing. He always performed perfectly…no mistakes, and no nervousness, but until it was all a done deal I was on pins and needles. Once my suit-clad tickler of the ivories stood up to take his bow, I was able to breathe and clap in true exultation!
The same was true when I sat in the bleachers for four years of high school football with my younger son, Miles. My husband was on cloud nine the entire time, with the exception of a few outrages over calls from officials. He was the bell of the ball, literally flitting around like a social butterfly, making friends and talking sports with the other parents. I enjoyed the games and cheering for the team, but it was like one long recital and I couldn’t relax until four years later!
I’m learning to breathe a little easier these days. I’m working on my second novel despite the ill-favored odds of ever being published. I’ll be my own one-woman act if I have to and then I’ll applaud for myself. A good friend has recently offered to give me accordion lessons, and I hope someday to be brave enough to perform with her, if you can consider a patio concert for friends who’ve had a few cocktails a performance! It takes more than punch and cookies these days to gather a crowd for Polka, and fortunately, my friend’s talent extends beyond that genre.
Until then, I will enjoy watching other people’s children perform. I’ll be wondering if the parents in the audience are able to enjoy the show as much as I am, and I’ll be wishing I could turn back the hands of time and erase all of the anxiety that went along with the performances in my life. I will watch one beautiful three-year-old ballerina in particular and I know I will be inspired to keep following my dreams.
I may not be ready to take a bow, but at least I’m not quite ready to bow out!