Cameron was 9...Ryan was 8....I was 30-mumble-mumble.
We were at my nephew-in-law's 21st birthday, and it was just over 6 months since my husband and I had separated. Man, my kids were cute back then...can't call them cute now, my teenagers are too big and smelly to wear that label, but back then? they were cute and still cuddly and on the more innocent side of life.
Back to my nephew's 21st....a karaoke machine was involved for entertainment purposes and it was brought out around 9.30pm when most people had had their fill of karaoke-inducing supplements. They were ready to get the place rocking...well, some of them were anyway.
Now, this can be a fun thing right? I've partaken a few times myself in the past...usually due to too much alcohol. By that stage I
don't care much what I sound like, let alone what they
think I sound like. The world is my stage and you will pretend to be entertained damnit! You may kiss my feet.
Ryan, bless him, had decided he wanted a go. He was always more confident as a youngster...he was great at starting up conversations with just about anyone about anything. (Hence his wee chat with a teacher who was busy sweating and complaining while she shovel-mixed concrete for the new school playground we were putting up. "Hello Mrs Bing! Are you having a lover-ly time digging today?!". He was 4.)
The microphone beckoned. He chose a song and waited for his name to be called. What can happen at some of these events, is that whoever is running the machine, is not necessarily sober. Furthermore, they may think that children can be overlooked..time and time again. Each time a different name was called, I watched my youngest son's face fall.
To all you Mum's out there?....I know I don't need to tell you how that made me feel. I told him to be patient and I was sure his turn would be soon. He inched closer to the karaoke machine, making sure he was in the operator's line of sight. The more he got ignored and shoved further down the list, the redder the surroundings became to me.
I approached her, I wasn't rude, in fact I was very polite (yeah whatever, but I really WAS
). I told her he'd been waiting a long time and I was pretty sure he'd been overlooked and could she please let him sing now? My body language may not have been as docile....the mic was handed over.
He sang...loudly...gorgeously out of tune...couldn't keep up with the words...didn't even know the song...but did anyone care? Of course not....he got a great deal of applause and whoops and he came away from that thing beaming so widely, he could've lit up a ballpark. I was that proud of him.
Observing all this glory, Cameron now wants a go...all that adoration should not be given to his brother alone...he wanted to share the limelight. He wanted
to, yet he was shit scared of doing so. I tried to encourage him, told him it was really quite a simple process...find a song he recognised...sing into the microphone...follow the words as they light up on the screen....piece of cake. "Yeah?"....."Yes hun, it's that easy"
..."Ok...can you do it first then?"
Did I want to sing in front my in-laws en masse, after I'd recently dumped the arse of one of their favourite kin? No
. Could I see a way of backing out of the "leading by example" maxim? Err...No
. Had I had enough alcohol to do this without giving a shit? Definitely not.
But when it got to the nitty gritty, I really didn't feel I had a choice. My son wanted to have a turn, and he wanted me to go first. What better way to show him how easy and unscary it can be but to do it myself first as he'd asked?
I figured I had plenty of time to psyche myself up because I gave the book to the kids to find something for me to sing. They fell on that folder with the enthusiasm of rabid dogs jumping at wounded prey. Back then we had a very popular kids show celebrity who the boys absolutely loved. The year before he'd released a video and there was a song on it that got played ad nauseum in our household.
Unfortunately, it was on the list.
I stood up there and sang/talked my way through "These Boots Are Made for Walking" with both boys standing beside me. I pretended I didn't have a care in the world that there was a possibility I could be banished from this lovely family for all eternity. I avoided looking at my ex's face the entire time and focussed on singing it to my children instead.
As uncomfortable as I was with their choice, and as inappropriate as it was at the time....it was worth it to see the bright smile on Ryan's face again and hearing Cameron proudly say "That's MY
mother" to anyone who would listen.
And even after putting his mother through that, the little bugger still wouldn't do it!