I Never Thought I’d See You On Stage

I never thought I’d see you on stage, my little one. Even though mummy and daddy regularly sing and perform, it was never something you wanted to do.

And that’s okay.

We’re all different.

I know that you are shy and you worry about making a mistake. You might love being the centre of attention at home and putting on shows for us, but I understand that it’s very different when you have to perform to a crowd.

Even from being toddler, you’ve refused to be on stage.

On stage child hiding behind bench

The Dance Class

Three short months ago, you came home from school in tears. That’s not like you.

I tried desperately to understand what you were telling me. As the sobs shook your tiny frame, I felt my heart squeezing. What has happened, little one? I don’t understand. Let me help you.

Eventually I pieced the fragments together – dance lessons. As your voice quivered, you managed to blurt out that your class had been with a dance teacher and that you would have to dance on stage soon.

But little one, you love to dance, I tried to say. But even as I heard myself speak, I knew – the dancing was not the problem, it was being in front of everyone else.

All evening you were not yourself. You cuddled so close to me at the dinner table that I could hardly eat my food. You were insecure, anxious. You kept looking up at me, searching my face for reassurance.

Three times in the night, you awoke with nightmares – again, not like you at all.

As we walked to school the next morning, you clung to my hand. There was no laughing and chasing with your friends. I had agreed to speak to your teacher about it… but you still reminded me… repeatedly… all the way to school… just to make sure.

A quick word with the teacher and all was fixed – there was no compulsion to take part in the performance. With one final encouraging smile, I pushed you into the classroom, and the world was back to normal.

on stage child on pink scooter helmet

On stage

So imagine my surprise when you merrily skipped out of class on friday and told me that you had signed yourself up for the school talent contest!

I hastily choked down the words that tried to leap from my mouth – But you hate going on stage! – and instead, nodded excitedly.

You worked so hard learning the lyrics to your chosen song and making your own junk model guitar. My eyes filled with tears as I saw you crouched over your creation, sticking and gluing in an effort to make it “just right”.

I thought my heart would burst with pride.

The morning of the competition, I saw you bristling with confidence. I hope I win, mummy. Do you think I’ll win?

And I hoped with all my might that you would.

on stage child dancing in the garden

All day, I thought of you. I wondered how it had gone. Had you managed to do it? Had the nerves gotten the better of you? Did you freeze mid-song? Did you wow them all?

When I picked you up, you didn’t mention it. I tried desperately not to mention it too, but I couldn’t bear it so I casually dropped it into conversation and willed my voice to sound relaxed and even.

The votes had not been counted yet. We would be emailed later on…

It’s a no

And no. You didn’t win.

I held you tightly as the tears flowed once more. I stroked your hair as you buried your head deep against my chest.

I tried to explain that there could only be one winner, that there were lots of other children that didn’t win too. I told you that I was proud of you; you had worked hard and that was the important thing.

My words felt hollow.

I knew how much this meant to you and what a huge hurdle you had overcome by simply signing up. I was frustratedDo the teachers even know my child? Don’t they realise what a big deal this is to her?

Of course, I’m sure there are lots of other children who worked really hard too. There were children who performed carefully-rehearsed piano solos and beautifully-choreographed dances. Yours was a little haphazard.

But I know no-one could have wanted it as much as you.

Try again

So, for the second time in a week, dinner was a sombre affair.

How will we ever recover from this? I silently wondered. She’ll never get back up on stage again.

But life is not always happy endings – sometimes we have to deal with failure. It is part of growing up.

I could not be prouder of you. You overcame one of your greatest fears, and you did it all by yourself. I don’t care that you didn’t win – you achieved so much just by putting your name into the hat.

on stage encouraging confidence in children badge

If you decide you never want to go on stage again, I will be fine with that. You gave it a shot.

Or maybe you’ve gotten the bug now and you’ll be itching to get back up there again. That’s fine too.

This week, you showed such bravery. I never thought I’d see you on stage… but today I did!

Pinterest I Never Thought I'd See You On Stage, Little One...But Today I Did!


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Add yours
  1. 5

    Building our children’s confidence is one of the most important jobs we have as parents. Previous generations didnt always get this right, there were notions of ‘spoiling’ kids or creating brats. But children lack confidence and doubt themselves all the time. My eldest is clever but he is already saying “I can’t do it” or “I’m not clever enough daddy” So I am always telling him what he is great at. I was a shy child and being in school plays brought me out of my shell. Good luck for future talent shows! #blogcrush

  2. 6
    The Mummy Bubble

    Oh I’ve welled up reading this. It’s one of my biggest fears about parenting, coping with seeing my kids in pain or struggling with something. You want to shield them or go out there and take the knocks on their behalf. I hope your daughter bounces back and shows off her beautiful talents again. Well done for being such a fab and supportive mummy x #blogcrush

  3. 9
    Jemma @popcornlunchuk

    Oh wow Lucy!!!!! Beautifully written!!!!!! Can I just say that the way you dealt with all this as a Mum was simply amazing. I can hear the patience and understanding in your voice. Your little girl is so lucky to have you as her mum. It’s beautiful that you accepted her initial unwillingness to be on stage – far better that than a pushy parent. I think it’s just so daunting for a child to be on a stage with all eyes on them and don’t think it necessarily reveals how they’ll be as adults. I’m sure many superstars started out as stage-shy kids. Your daughter showed remarkable resilience by ultimately giving it a go and the fact she didn’t win was a very good life lesson!! Beautiful post xx #BlogCrush

  4. 11

    Written from the heart. It’s hard to be a parent sometimes isn’t it? Supporting rather than pushing is so important and this really came through in this post -how supportive you are as a mummy. Lovely, lovely post. Xx#blogcrush

  5. 12

    Oh, the pain of pushing your own boundaries and then not winning! I know exactly how your little one must feel as it stopped me doing so many things when younger. Still does, to a point, but I’m of the age where I can say “**** it!” and do it anyway now! #BlogCrush

  6. 14
    Nat - Awaybies

    What a beautiful post! Well done to you both! It will be lovely for your daughter to read it one day, to see how much her mum encouraged her and championed her from the sidelines despite all odds! You just never know how life will turn out she may end up starring in the West End one day. It reminds me I should write to my daughter too. Wonderful #blogcrush

  7. 15
    Mackenzie Glanville

    this is so gorgeous, what a brave girl. Facing our fears is a really hard thing to do, as adults we know just how hard, so to see her doing this is just amazing and all by herself! I feel so proud of her even though I don’t know her. I can feel your love and pride in this post and it is beautiful xx

  8. 17
    Helen @Talking_Mums

    My daughter did the school talent show recently and the amount of pride you feel, just for them getting up there is so immense isn’t it. It’s just so hard to try and comfort them when they don’t ‘win’, they just have winning in mind. I hope she finds her confidence again soon x

  9. 20
    The Squirmy Popple

    We all have to learn that we can’t always win – it’s one of the hardest lessons there is, and it sucks. I think she was very brave to get up on stage at all and face her fears – that’s really the most important thing, and maybe one day she’ll see that. Until then, I hope she keeps singing and dancing like no one’s watching. #DreamTeam

  10. 21

    How great that she made that huge step by herself! I bet you are one proud parent! Way to go! She’s learned so many things by taking that leap❤️ #TriumphantTales

  11. 22
    Mama Grace

    I love that she choose to go on stage herself in the end. As a performer too, I wish we could convey how it’s not a contest and there’s room for all of us. If we’re having fun and somebody is enjoying our performance, the job is done. #TriumphantTales

  12. 24
    Mrs Mummy Harris

    Oh my god, how adorable is she??? I actually have tears in my eyes from pride! She overcame her worries and fears and did the unthinkable. I know for now she’s sad, but in time she’ll realise her achievement and will be so proud of herself too!
    Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next week.

  13. 25

    This is a beautiful post. I bet you were so so proud that Jenny went up and did it, it doesn’t matter that she didn’t win. How brave was she to actually conquer her fear and get up on stage, massive proud mummy moment for you and hope Jenny isn’t put off by not winning and continues to keep conquering her fears xx #blogcrush

  14. 28
    Laura - Autumn's Mummy

    Wow, this was beautifully written. I felt my heartstrings pull with each twist and turn. I hope that although it was hard not winning when she wanted it so much that it has given her more confidence for the future. It sounds like you’re such a kind, gentle mum and talk to her in such a beautiful caring way. #blogcrush

  15. 30
    Annette, Four Acorns / Quatre graines de chêne

    Such a brave little girl for giving it a shot! You never know, she might well try again sooner than you think. My daughter was so nervous before she first went on stage for a very relaxed Goldilocks and the 3 bears school play. Now she loves singing and dancing and will jump at any chance to show off her talents. Love the T-shirt!

  16. 31
    Annette, 3 Little Buttons

    How brave was she getting up on stage! I love how you are all for giving confidence. It’s so important to shower them with it, isn’t it. Though having said that, I don’t think everyone is a stage person, confidence or not. It’s fab that she gave it a shot on her own terms. Well done little lady. #DreamTeam xx

  17. 32
    David Pearson

    I was always that child at school. I was so scared of being on stage facing people. I would always sign up to be back-stage help at school productions, and later at high school the lighting “engineer”. But NEVER on stage. But we have 4 girls who love to perform, and two who are really into it and have been in many productions (and they’re still only 7 and 9). I’ve no idea where they get it from – because it’s not me! They do dance competitions now, some genres they excel in, some not so much. They’ve both won medals, the youngest even placed first on only her second time out. It doesn’t seem to phase them at all. I just sit there and watch them, bursting with pride. My girls will be what they want to be, regardless of my own fears.

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