Max recently had his spring concert. The week before, I got a promising email from his teacher: "I am happy to tell you that Max did a great job at the dress rehearsal. He waited in a quiet area as the other children sang and when it was our turn he joined the class (with some hesitation) but then he happily performed. He was so excited afterward as well. We high fived and congratulated him."
I was so psyched. I took the morning off from work and headed to the school, me and my high hopes.
Max's class was slated to sing "Friendship Rap" and "You're A Friend of Mine."
I crouched down between the two aisles of seats, right in front, camera in hand, eager for the kids to come out. When they did, Max made a beeline for me. I gave him a hug and sent him back to the row of kids lined up in front of the crowd.
Let me just say that this was already a score; Max has a history of melting down at these events. The fact that he was smiling and that he agreed to rejoin the class (instead of staying glommed to me) was major. Our family actually has a history of stage fright. Sabrina was once in a dance recital at 3. As all the other little ballerinas pranced around to the Sesame Street theme song, Sabrina just stood there and stared into the audience. Literally. The only time she moved was when it came time to take a bow, at which point the audience broke into wild applause.
The performance started. Max just kept smiling at me. He didn't sing or do any of the hand gestures. And you know what? I wasn't at all disappointed. I was genuinely thrilled he was content up there. And proud of him. He ran into my arms after the performance was over, and we had the best hug.
If there's one thing I've learned about raising Max—and Sabrina—it's this: Our kids may not always live up to our expectations, but as long as they're happy, it's all good. Once you accept this, you'll be happy too.