One audition became two and two became three. The whole of it was new to him, having previously been content to sing in the choir and enjoy the experience. This year, that felt different. This year, he wanted to try something more.
For the second year in a row, Benjamin's big brother has blazed the trail. Now, I know Kevin Leman believes that a second born will usually try to find a different path. But, in our family, Benjamin works it through by finding a way to follow Noah, though maybe in a slightly different way. So, for the past couple years, Benjamin has seen Noah take roles in plays at school and love every second of it all. Noah is shy and Benjamin is... well, not at all shy! So, memorizing lines and acting out parts seemed pretty accessible to him.
Imagine his excitement when he was finally given a part! For weeks, he has gone into rehearsals and practiced his lines and approached this new activity with the kind of enthusiasm that is such a part of who Benjamin really is. My sweet second born loves a new challenge, has a quick and engaging smile and can make you giggle from across a room. He loves to have fun, lives life passionately and seeks to find perfection in whatever he does.
So, once given a part, he worked on his lines, talked constantly about the musical and could not wait to do it for real.
Yesterday, a matinee performance of the musical was planned and Benjamin was overcome with fear. He woke up in the morning, moved slowly through the house and mumbled under his breath.
"I am going to forget my lines...."
"I am going to make a complete fool of myself...."
The excitement and thrill of the musical upcoming evaporated quickly leaving my boy left in the wake of what was. Adrift in insecurity, he was easily more unsure of his part in the play than anything else he had ever done.
And it broke my heart.
I was reminded again how limited I am. I was reminded again at how little I can do to help my kids. I was reminded again that even when I am fully intertwined in their little lives, their lives are actually theirs.
Before he left for school, I wrapped my arms around Benjamin and spoke words of blessing and encouragement to him. I told him that he would do well... that I knew he would remember his lines and he would end up enjoying the ride. And, that it was okay to be nervous, too. I told him I was proud of him for working so hard and that no matter what happens in the performance, I would love him still.
As I whispered all this to my sweet boy, he just melted into my arms.
And then, we went to school and I let him go. I let him go. Because, what am I to do? Even when the whole of my being wants to grab on and not let go, I know it is not best... and I know it's not my job. My job is help him feel ready. My job is love him through. And, my job is to open my arms and welcome him home when the show is done... whether he did fabulously well, or not.
Sometimes I really wonder who is learning more, each and every day? Them or me? They teach me a lot, these kids. Not only about who I am... but also about who they are becoming. And my Benjamin? He is becoming a boy who faces his fears, who trusts his work, who will smile and laugh and be strong and good even when he is scared to death.
It's a beautiful sight to see...
Blessings on your day.