“I can’t look.” Hubs squeezes his eyes shut and hunkers down in his seat.

I peer over the first row of seats and stare at Oldest as he prepares his trumpet and music stand at the front of small performance room. Behind us, fifteen rows of chairs are occupied by parents and students.

My hands start to shake. I feel lightheaded. Maybe I shouldn’t have eaten Mexican before the recital.

I’ve never had stage fright as bad as I have it right now … and I’m not even the one performing. This was never mentioned in any of those parenting books. The ones you read religiously before the first kid is born? Nope, not even one warned me that second-hand stage fright registers on the cardiac arrest scale.

The piano accompaniment starts playing and I freeze. My eyes start watering but I seem to have forgotten how to blink …. or breathe. Oldest begins playing his solo trumpet piece and I wonder if the people around me can hear my heart pounding.

Halfway through the piece I regain some of the feeling in my toes and fingers. Oldest is doing great. My painfully shy little boy seems to have morphed into a confident young man. A year ago, he wouldn’t have agreed to perform a solo in a recital even if I promised to pay him $1,000.

I forget to start clapping when he finishes, I’m too busy gulping down air like a drowning woman. When the oxygen reaches my brain, I join everyone in the room, amazed that my baby just took his first steps into adulthood.

He spent months preparing a level one piece of music of his own choosing. He worked like a dog without being reminded to practice.  He nursed swollen lips without complaint and just performed in front of a room full of strangers.

I’m not even frustrated that he forgot to take the trash out before we left home.

second hand stage fright