She caught me as I walked in the door.
Waving the green paper in her hand, telling me she was going to do the school talent show. All she needed was my signature.
What if she froze on stage?
What if kids laughed?
What if she looked at the others; the gymnast flipping, the ballerina leaping and the boy and his violin concerto, and somehow she felt less then?
How could I place her in the path of those possibilities?
Wasn’t my job to protect? Yet there she stood asking me to be a willing accomplice.
I was worn down in the moment. The paper signed, off she went.
For weeks she practiced with her friend and talked excitedly about the show.
Even after the preparation, I worried.
The evening arrived.
Glowing faces, happy smiles as parents and grandparents lined the aisles.
I sat glued to the hard, metal, folding chair wishing the night away, placing my own elementary school fears squarely on the shoulders of my ten year old.
Fears of rejection and failure from a recovering perfectionist, no wonder the air felt heavy.
But, as it always happens, she took the chance to teach me.
Her face flushed with excitement, voice beginning softly then growing in confidence. The two friends side by side supporting one another.
Two minutes gone in the blink of an eye and it was over.
The exhale was for me alone. She had not needed it.
My story was not hers.
She wrote her own that night.