Wednesday, May 6, 2015

DAY 10: Entering Neverland

Monday night was Liam’s show, Peter Pan. He played the ultimate villain, Captain Hook and it was marvelous!

On the ride over, he didn’t want a snack—and he always chows down on the way to music class so it was a bit surprising. Maybe he had the same butterflies I had as we drove to Andover... My stomach was such a flutter, I had the same feeling I used to get when I was about to perform and I had a hunch Liam was feeling the same way. When I asked if he OK, he only nodded and whispered, “yes.”

We walked in and I helped him get into his costume wordlessly. Then I asked if he was ready. He nodded again. I said, “You got this, I am so proud of you. Now go out there and have fun!” He smiled and with a wave of his hook he was off grunting and laughing with his pirate crew as they warmed up for the performance.

As I walked away, I paused to think what it would have been like to be on stage at such a young age. It wasn’t until I was in 8th grade that I sang in front of an audience alone. Wow, I was humbled thinking that these 5 and 6 year old children were about to walk onto a real stage and bring a story to life in front of a real audience. The thought had me clutching my stomach with what I told myself was just excitement…

As we all entered the cool theater, I could hear the shuffling of little feet and a couple backstage giggles. I was suddenly stricken with nervousness. How would he do? What if he forgets the words? What if he can’t control his “unsafe body” and dances like those balloon guys in front of car dealerships? And before I could think one more awful think they were all on stage, each one looking for their families in the dark auditorium. I yelped and he found my eyes instantly, did a mini-wave and smiled—and that was it, he was transformed into the Captain himself. Scowl set, he stayed in character (complete with gravelly voice, obviously!) throughout the show.

When he stepped up to the microphone to sing “Never Smile at a Crocodile” he didn’t miss a beat, he sang loud and proud—and with the slight hint of a vibrato—and I dissolved into tears. My boy who had such a tough adjustment when we moved was strutting his pirate self all over the stage, singing his heart out for all to hear. I thought I would burst at such a gorgeous sight. And again, I credit his teacher at Tiny Tunes for making these magical moments happen, for building his confidence, for helping him plant his feet and for introducing him to the power of live performance.

After the curtain call, I could hear him calling my name from the lobby as I rushed to hug him. “Was I awesome?” he asked and I answered, “Better than awesome!”  Because it was just true, all of this was way better than awesome, it was a little like finding our own Never-Never Land.

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