When I was a little girl I was painfully shy. I can remember hiding behind my mother's leg and not wanting to speak to people I didn't know. I was probably a teenager before I would order a meal by myself at a restaurant and the idea of standing up in front of a group to do anything made me shiver and shake with fear as a kid.
I tell you this because the personality that exists in my youngest daughter is a carbon copy of my own personality as a young girl. So, I get it. I understand where she's coming from and I empathize more than anyone can know.
I remember my mother telling me that she was so amazed when I came home from school in the 5th grade and announced that I would be playing the flute in the elementary school band. I always thought it was funny that she clung on to this memory and that she felt it was a turning point in my life. I guess it was the first time that I made a bold decision like this on my own. A decision that would have me up on a stage in front of others. I now understand how this effected my mom. The thought of Shelly making a conscious choice to be in front of a large group of people would definitely be overwhelming for me, as well.
Yesterday was the Fall Festival at the girls' school. Shelly had been chosen as the princess representative from her Kindergarten class. She reluctantly (and with much assistance from her sister) appeared on stage for the presentation of the princes and princesses. As she came on to the stage she was in tears, she looked around apprehensively, she folded her arms to protect herself, and once the limelight was off of her she seemed to be a bit relieved. Her happiest moment: receiving the prized trophy and being able to get off the stage! Once it was over she was as happy as could be.
And as all of this unfolded, I realized that there would probably be many more years of apprehension, fear, and nervousness on Shelly's part. And just like my parents did for me, I hope I can be there to make it all better once it's over.