We were about to leave the house and go to The Far Out for Ava’s performance with her band when she said she didn’t want to go.
She had been taking singing lessons and rehearsing with her band for months.
At the band’s first concert, the other singer didn’t show up and Ava was nervous that she’d have to sing alone again.
“Don’t make me go,” she said, as tears welled up in her eyes.
Sarah looked at me. “What do we do?”
Without much of a discussion, we created our strategy on the fly. We talked to Ava about her commitment to the band and said that we were going to the performance to support them.
We told her she didn’t have to sing or even get on stage. But we would go there together and she could decide what she wanted to do.
When we arrived at the venue, Ava saw the other singer was there, but she was still feeling nervous about performing.
Sarah and Ava talked to one of the music school’s program guides, who assured Ava that this feeling of stage fright was natural and offered some ideas to help.
She gave Ava a pair of sunglasses to put on and told Ava she could even be on stage facing her bandmates instead of looking out into the crowd, if she wanted.
She also gave Ava a tambourine, which Ava ended up playing as she sang all four songs with her band, wearing the sunglasses, and facing the crowd.
In the end, Ava felt great about her performance and was happy she did it.
Likewise, Sarah and I felt great about our performance. We didn’t want to force Ava to go on stage, but we also didn’t want to make it easy to quit when we knew she might regret it later.
Finding that middle ground of going to the performance to support her band while allowing Ava to make her own decision about getting on stage felt like a huge win.
Whether she ultimately sang or not, Ava had already done the right thing by showing up.
Parenting is hard, but at least we don’t have to do it up on a stage with a bunch of people watching us.
PS. Illustration created by Midjourney. Prompt: “Simple watercolor painting of kids in a band on stage. The lead singer is a girl with blond hair.”