Lesson in living a full life as taught by a 5-year-old
Natalie Mia arrived in my life on Tax Day (April 15) 1997. She was forced to come early, thanks to my ob/gyn’s need to go on a hunting trip.
She didn’t arrive easily — her protest for having to leave when she wasn’t quite ready. It’s a trait she still displays.
She goes through life with a single-minded purpose and an incredible sense of self.
She is considerate, loving, generous, occassionally bratty as babies are wont to be, and oh, so funny.
And though I’ve said it before, I say it again, shaking my head in awe of her — she teaches me some very big lessons.
The latest is something we can all carry with us into 2003.
Natalie participated (as a kindergartner) in her first Christmas performance the first week in December.
Driving there, she said from the back seat, “Mommy, I am SO proud and SO excited. Hurry up, we don’t want to be late.” (Never mind we were 45 minutes early).
When it was time for the nearly 70 munchkins to perform, angels and elves filed across the stage. Bells and trees stood on risers on either side of the stage.
Natalie, decked in burgundy velvet from head to toe and sporting a sandwich board bell, stood on the first riser.
I heard her voice on the public address system as she stood there eyes closed and concentrating.
“I’m doing my personal best. I’m doing my personal best,” she said.
Then the music began.
And she stole the show.
And I swear I’m not being a stage mom.
There she was singing beautifully (she has near D perfect pitch), dancing (she’s also got great rhythm) and putting all of her little self — arms, expressions, heart — into what she was doing.
She was dramatic, funny and absolutely in her glory and having SO much fun.
The following Saturday, we went to Piper’s Opera House to see The Nutcracker Ballet.
At intermission, the master of ceremonies invited “those who are singers” to come up on the stage (where Mark Twain and other historic notables had performed) to lead the crowd in singing carols.
There she went. From the back of Piper’s, Natalie walked the full length of the theater, climbed the stairs and twirled onto center stage.
Then she led us in caroling.
And shattered every excuse I could possibly have for not running fearlessly and joyfully after my dreams.
Sometimes it takes a little person to remind us of what we should be doing.
My daughter’s gift to me this season is one I’d lost sight of. Her self-knowledge, her wisdom, her strength, her absolute fearlessness have made me realize that when these qualities are at play, great things are possible.
And there are no excuses.
n Karel Delbecq is The Record-Courier’s features editor and student of her children. She can be reached by e-mail at delbecq@swiftnews and wishes each of you a fearless, joy- and peace-filled 2003.