Last year, my Maia was part of her school's musical, Grease (a school version--very "cleaned up," as it were). She was cast as Cha Cha DeGregorio. She was the most soft-spoken Cha Cha who has ever lived, I am sure. I was happy that she had fun being in the cast and getting to know so many other kids at her new school. The experience was good for her.
So good, in fact, that she wanted to do it again this year. Her school was going to perform Seussical: The Musical. Before try-outs, I gave her a little pep talk. "Maia, you can sing. You sing the right notes, but people need to actually hear them when you audition, okay?" When she came home from her audition, she assured me that she had been much louder than last year.
When the cast was announced, we learned that she was cast as Gertrude McFuzz, one of the lead roles. I was amazed--not that I didn't think my Maia could do it, but more that I was surprised that she had shown her abilities to the directors.
The week of the play, I was a nervous wreck. I had serious nausea at some points, I kid you not. I knew Maia knew her lines and songs, but I was nervous that she would get nervous and forget. I was worried that people wouldn't be able to hear her. I worried that she would remember that she hates attention. That she'd trip and fall off the stage. Or have a wardrobe malfunction. (You get the idea; I can be somewhat neurotic.)
I worried in vain.
Opening night, ten minutes into the show when she sang her first solo, it became apparent that my Maia is a star! Tears rolled down my face as I watched her sit in the spotlight and sing her little heart out. I couldn't keep a smile off my face all night. She sang all her notes perfectly, didn't miss a cue and was utterly adorable. (And we could hear her just fine.)
It was not without sacrifice that she had this amazing experience. Maia spends hours every night doing homework and had to fit in a couple of rehearsals a week with that intense work ethic for school. I had to drive a carpool and take her to those rehearsals. But, boy, was it worth it.
I could tell after the first performance that her spirit was just soaring. She felt confident, appreciated and supported. Who wouldn't love to feel those things--especially as an adolescent?
As for me, I was overwhelmed by yet another piece of evidence that my little chubby baby is long gone; there is a tall, thin young woman in her place. I was also overwhelmed with the love extended to my girl (and her nervous mom) from relatives, friends and neighbors who came to see her on stage. It warmed my mother heart.
Love this group shot we snapped on the last night: I am clearly mid-word; my Michael is afraid to come any closer lest anyone know that he is with us. But look at the sources of love: grandparents, three beloved aunts, some of her favorite cousins and dear friends.