Nearly two decades ago, I had the opportunity to sing a duet with my then 4-year-old daughter at the La Paloma Theatre in Encinitis, California. We were both taking piano and voice lessons from Miss Peggy Lebo at the time. Or well, I was taking lessons and Aziza was playing along with me. So when it came time for a recital that was also a fund raiser, Peggy proposed that Aziza and I sit down and bang out a song that we would sing together from Oliver and Company. I said, “No”. I just couldn’t do it. I could not get on stage and do anything, much less sing or play the piano. That stage fright kept me from doing a lot of things.
But I was heartbroken. How pathetic was I that I was unable to squelch my fears enough to embrace the opportunity to do such a thing with my little peanut who so desperately wanted to sing with mommy. She still performed…with a band and everything. Watching her stand up there with a microphone bigger than her body and sing “Castle on a Cloud” was such a gift and the memory still floods me with pride and joy. And how lucky was I to have that sweet little thing turn to me in the midst of it all, cup her hand in a wave and say, “Hi Mommy!” The best ever!
Now this many years later, it is she who is coaching me through a voice lesson and the audition process. Belting out “Maybe This Time” while we walk down the street on our way to get a cocktail takes me back to the shared piano bench and lesson that came with a cookie afterward. What a blessing.
The audition was okay. I sort of bombed it. But I laughed and had a great time. And no, I did not picture everyone in their underwear like Marcia Brady. Instead, I tried to be as good as I could and as delightful as possible so as to make the experience fun for the panel of people watching me dance and listening to me sing. If nothing else, they will remember me for making them smile. And I am grateful to them for making me feel relaxed and welcomed.
Wouldn’t it be nice if every time we challenged ourselves, we had a support system like I did with my daughter who helped and encouraged me, as well as came alongside to see me through? Isn’t that what life is about? Getting out of our comfort zones to try new things, growing, and becoming better, more empathetic, and courageous people is what makes the journey exciting.
I may not get a call back, but I won all the same. Whereas a fear formerly paralyzed me, now courage, strength, and hope have inspired me to strive for greater things for myself. And the next time she asks me to do a duet, you can bet your bootie that I will say “Yes!”