When I was out of town last weekend, I missed our school's first ever talent show. But I was around on Thursday for the dress rehearsal and got a cute preview of a dozen children who were preparing to take the stage the next night. This never ceases to amaze me: that children (ahem, or anyone) will run up onto a stage and do their thing.
I remember trying to understand how my introverted daughter A feels when she dances. I can see with K what the motivation is - she visibly grows, brightens, expands when she is in front of people - even just guests sitting in our living room. This is clearly K's extroverted nature (and rightful place as lastborn) shining through.8 year old B in her school playWhen I asked B how the talent show went, she told me it was great.
Then she said wistfully, "I wish H's mom was my mom."
Smiling, I said, "Did I just hear you say you wish you had another mom?"
"Yeah! She rapped on stage with him! You would never do that."
"Well, you're stuck with me," I said as I hugged her and thought, She's right! I would never do that.
But A is not wired this way. She has never (voluntarily) performed in our home while guests are here, although she did once make an exception and perform her most recent dance for visiting family members. She is far more likely to be found in her room, curled up with a book, when we have a house full of people. So how can this child not just perform at a recital with a few hundred people in the audience, but at TPAC's Jackson Hall?
I think it's because A doesn't just dance as a pastime. She dances from a core part of who she is. She dances because she was made to dance. So when she's up there on the stage, she is opening up a box of gifts that her creator gave her, and she's spilling those gifts out at the feet of everyone watching.
My reaction? Honestly, I normally cry. Not because I am sad, but because when I see my daughter bare her very soul by dancing in front of all of us, I am proud of her. I am much pleased. Not with her talent, but with her willingness to be vulnerable, to do what she was made to do, to exult in the gifts that she has.
Last weekend, I read the book Ish to a group of women and I encouraged them to look for the gifts in others so that they would eventually recognize their own gifts. I want to be proud of my own box of gifts and as willing to rip my box open and share it as my daughters are. Maybe then they could be proud of me - even if I will never, ever rap onstage with them.