The last couple years, we’ve brought the kids to our military base’s youth talent show, always certain to be filled a variety of interesting treats for the ears and eyes. I’m a total talent junkie, so I can’t resist this kind of thing. So last year on the way home from the show, our 5 year-old Claire announced that she wanted to be in the talent show the next time they had it. At that point, she had NEVER sung in front of anyone but her immediate family, and anytime I asked her to do so, she would clam up and make her super-shy long face at me. Certainly some would say that Claire is on the bashful side, at least in uncertain situations. But throughout this past year, she has expressed the desire to bust out of her shell, much to my delight. Back in February, she wanted quite badly to audition for a part in a production of “The Wizard of Oz” and she really, really wanted to sing a solo, she told me. She auditioned, and indeed was given a small solo part. And she did just fine! But much to my terror, she never forgot about the talent show. So when the time came to sign her up, I asked her if she really, really, really wanted to do it. I probed her tirelessly to get a feel for if this child would really get up on stage in front of several hundred people and sing. She has a beautiful voice which we get to enjoy on a daily basis at the Cash household. But quite honestly, I was terrified that she’s get up there and go into shell-shock and then be traumatized forever from the prospect of singing in front of people. But all year long, she would hear a song in the car, and then ask me, “what do you think about this one for the talent show?” She picked her own song. (I was shooting for a classic like “What a Wonderful World” or “Over the Rainbow.”) But she insisted after hearing it just once that “Three Little Birds” (a Bob Marley tune!) was what she wanted to sing. So we practiced and practiced and practiced. Okay, so she did have a slight edge having a singer-mom for a coach perhaps. But even the day before the show, when her dance teacher allowed her to rehearse in front of her peers, she clammed. Didn’t do her choreography, didn’t sing loud enough to be heard, etc. But later on when I asked her if she was really, really, really sure about doing this, and gave her a safe chance to back out, she looked me straight in the eye and gave me the lowdown:”Mom, I know I’m shy. But I have to practice being on stage so I won’t be afraid anymore. Because I’m supposed to sing!”
So okay, I let my 6 year-old baby get up on stage in front of all those people. She was actually first on the program, so my blood pressure wasn’t too high for long enough to do any permanent damage. But I have to tell you, I was completely elated and delighted when she did her thing last night. And then the little stinker WON! She won 1st place in the junior division and a $500 savings bond for college. We are so proud of our little songbird!