18 December, 2008


My daughter R presented me with a small invitation a week ago, for her family to attend the school's annual Presentation night. She was receiving an academic award for coming equal first in Design Technology. Ok, I told her, we'll be there. (I've no idea what the subject actually entails... designing a computer program, a wedding dress or a garden shed, it's a mystery to me, and all are possible in an agricultural high school...)

She had also been muttering on and off for a couple of weeks about how she would soon be singing in front of the school (again). I honestly didn't pay that part much attention. She's done it a few times and if I'm perfectly honest, I had a bit of a suspicion that the older singers just tolerated her as a cute worshipper from the youngest grade.

Anyway, the day of the presentation night rolls around and she starts complaining that she has nothing to wear. Brandishing the invitation, I point out that it requests "full school uniform". She blows this off with an exasperated sigh. The kind of sigh that only 13-year-olds can do.

"Sir said I can wear comfortable clothes."

A discussion ensues on why an invitation would specify school uniform and then some teacher says she can wear whatever. "MUM! Because I'm a performer, of course!"

The penny drops. She's singing at the awards ceremony? Well... alright. I'd also conveniently just washed her jeans, which would never dry in time. Heading to my wardrobe I extract a lovely two-piece skirt and top. She dismissed it as being 'old lady'. "Ahem, R, I bought this outfit for my cousin's wedding when I was 16!"

She finally tried it on and was impressed with the look.

So my son J and I arrived to watch the performance. Opening the program guide, there's her name... she's doing a solo? What the? Have I ever felt quite this inadequate as a parent? (Not sure.) Not only that, she's the only musical performer for the night.

The sound guys somehow messed up, so she couldn't be heard in the first verse, but to her credit she kept going regardless, like a true professional. They managed to readjust the mix and when we could hear her, it was amazing. She was spot on-pitch and in a big, echoey hall half full of parents and students, and impossibly nervous, that's not a bad effort. We'll ignore the part where she breathed directly into the mic, and again when she giggled at her friend in the front row, again directly into the mic. She told me that the last time she sang in front of the school they laughed at her. Well not this time, the applause was deafening. She really was good, and I'm not usually the kind of parent to gush about her daughter's talents.

As we were leaving she was congratulated by her principal, the primary school's principal, and then the mayor.

"Mum! Did you hear that? The MAYOR said I was good!!!!!!!!!!"

~ Elisa