Monday, May 12, 2014

Caroline's Got (age-appropriate) Talent

This evening was the annual Holcomb Elementary 3rd and 4th grade talent show, and my big 3rd grader made her debut! Thanks to long-distance piano lessons with Grandmommy May, Caroline was able to perform one of the pieces she's been working on this year at both the afternoon and evening performances.

I thought back to my own elementary school days and a faint memory of a talent show; if I remember correctly, I performed a lip sync instead of playing the piano, to (I'm sure) my mother's eternal frustration and disappointment. Not only did I demand to be allowed to lip sync, but I chose a song by *gasp* Madonna, and of all songs, I chose *what-was-I-thinking* "Like A Virgin." In fact, my 4th grade teacher, Ms. McCray (who I always thought was super cool because she was young and fun to my 10 year old eyes) let me borrow one of her prom dresses so that I was in full costume.

As an aside, I'm not sure whether color commentary is more appropriate for me or for Ms. McCray on my being able to wear her prom dress at the age of 10.

Regardless, as I watched the show tonight that included a couple of gyrating, booty-shaking dance routines to current popular music that were suspect in their appropriateness for 3rd and 4th graders, I finally understood how mortified my own mom must have been all those years ago. Lip syncing Madonna, as a 4th grader? Could it get any more inappropriate? Not to mention, it was common knowledge that my mom was a piano teacher. Her own daughter didn't have a piano piece to play at the talent show?

I'm sure it wasn't for lack of something to play; it was the earliest stages of the rebellion of a daughter who insisted on being her own person; choosing her own path; defining her own self in large part by highlighting how she was different. You can't possibly know the hassle and frustration and occasional disappointment of being a mother to a headstrong daughter until you have your own, and I'm just starting to see that side of motherhood.

So Mom, I want you to know, tonight was kind of a do-over for you. Caroline was so courageous, getting up in front of all of her peers today and then again in front of their families tonight. She had poise and determination, and she played beautifully. Not once did she fight me on the suggestion to play the piano for the talent show. I was so proud of her tonight, and I know you would have been too.

Second time was the charm.

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