The Talent Show

The plan was that they would all sing together. The first I heard of this was yesterday morning. ‘There’s a talent show at camp,’ they told me. ‘We’re going to sing “Let It Go,”’ they said.

He woke up this morning at 6:15 and told me he didn’t want to do it. He told me every twenty minutes for the next three hours that he “didn’t want to do the talent show.” I kept saying, “Just wait and see how you feel when the time comes.”

When the time came, he reminded me again. I arrived at camp at 2pm, and he turned to me and said, “I don’t want to do it.” “Okay, I said.”

Their group performed The Macarena (see below). All three got up there and did the moves like any obliging rule follower would.

As the show wore on (and on), several potential performers bowed out. Their nerves mounting (if I had to guess), as they watched their fellow campers do cartwheels across the makeshift stage, tell knock-knock jokes, or perform skits. One of our three drew closer and closer to me where I sat and finally said for the first time, “I don’t want to go up there.”

And then it was finally their turn. “Are you going to do it?” the counselors asked the one who had been saying all day he didn’t want to. He shook his head. “Ok, so just you two?” they said to the others. And the second one said “No, not me.”

“He’s not going to do it,” Sophie said, confirming for the counselors what she had only just learned three seconds ago: this would not be a trio or even a duet.

“Do you want to do it by yourself?” they asked.

She nodded. Resolute. So brave. The tiniest camper of all, no doubt, and as nervous as ever. But yes, she would do it.

He REALLY didn’t want to do it. But when it turned out she was headed up there all alone (as brave as she was nervous), he (quite literally) jumped up to join.

It’s hard for me to wrap my head around a five-year-old having that much empathy. Having so much love in his heart for someone else that he will jump up and do the thing he REALLY doesn’t want to do even when all the grownups are telling him he doesn’t have to. And despite the fact that she didn’t ask. She didn’t have to.

You can hardly hear the two of them, but his love for her rang out loud and clear during this, their first talent show performance. They did it together. And I couldn’t have been prouder had they belted it out in two-part harmony and performed a choreographed dance. This triplet bond is real, people. And it runs deeper than any nerves or apprehension or introversion. It’s the kind of thing that makes a boy who might otherwise prefer to avoid the spotlight jump up and sing in front of a crowd of nearly a hundred people, just so his spotlight-seeking sister can breathe a little easier.