To Dream the Impossible Dream (especially when your performance is a nightmare)

Last weekend was my 3-year-old daughter Hadley’s first – and last – dance recital. We invited the entire family out for the occasion, an event we knew would go down as yet one more painful chapter in the Johnson Family History of Dysfunction.

You see, Hadley has inherited my lack of rhythm. Instead, she has a raw, aggressive athleticism that makes her adept at climbing mountains, scaling large buildings and reducing her competition to tears at any sign of weakness (the latter of which I have been submitted to since she was born).

I hoped an early intervention would counteract her lack of groove but I was wrong. Early on, it became painfully clear that she is not made for the dance floor. Her only redeeming quality is she loves an audience, as was evidenced by her performance at the recital.

While most of the little girls timidly and gracefully danced, Hadley did her toe-heel kicks like she was crushing a philandering ex-boyfriend. She spun like a rabid Tasmanian devil. And then, when all the girls were linking hands in a circle, Hadley decided this was her moment and she brazenly improvised a solo performance. Until those lacking in vision reeled her back in, that is. (The legendary dance will likely be coming to a YouTube near you).

We laughed until we cried but quickly acknowledged that this is not her passion and so our quest continues to explore and discover her talents. To encourage, not crush The Dream because believe me, I know all about the crushing….

When I was young, I dreamt of singing on Broadway and would perform to my Annie and Sound of Music 8-Tracks for hours. Problem was I couldn’t carry a tune but that did not dissuade me. Until Lisa Low came on the scene.

Lisa was a girl at church who was the complete antithesis of me. She was petite, sweet, sang like an angel and was a fantastic actress. I was also extremely jealous of her. Whatever athletic or academic prowess I possessed seemed to pale in comparison to her. One Sunday when I heard her song-bird voice, I snapped. Suddenly, it became the most important thing in the world to out-sing her the only way I know how: in volume.

As I sang louder, she rose to the occasion matching me with her melodic voice. Back and forth it went until we were both practically shouting. Exasperated, she finally turned to me.

“Amber, will you please stop? You are singing way too loud!”
“You are singing just as loudly as me,” I pointed out.
“Yes, but I sound good!”

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