Last week was a blur of practicing, lessons, rehearsals, recitals...all leading up to Izzy's performance at the MTNA competition on Saturday night.
Izzy's amazing teacher coached her through the entire experience.
There were late nights. A weary girl. A tree in the room. An indifferent cat.
The competition consisted of performing twenty minutes of repertoire for a panel of judges who hailed from across the country and even around the world.
It involved the hasty removal of blue nailpolish on the way to the event.
There were last minute warmups, waiting, gloves, and a good book to calm the nerves.
And then it was time to play.
How small she looked out there! How alone!
And yet I watched as my timid girl put the violin to her chin and set it on fire.
She played with every ounce of passion that was in her body. She brought every bit of hard work, of endless preparation to this moment. She stood there and played like a lark soaring through the air, like a swan. She took my breath away as she always does, she made my heart ache. Watching her was like being drawn from the room and floating away with her beautiful, mesmerizing sound.
But she did not win.
She did not win because she was in a league that eclipsed any other competition she's ever experienced.
Izzy was very good. But the other musicians were astounding. And they were better.
Forgive me, but that is the truth. Parents who cannot be objective about their children make me nervous.
However, to me she was a true winner. I watched a transformation occur in her playing and performance over the past several weeks.
And I watched her accept the defeat with crestfallen grace.
I don't know how other parents navigate these moments, but it touched me deeply to see how much the competition mattered to Izzy. She did not shrug it off or get over it immediately. There were tears and requests for an explanation. After a fun family dinner there was sitting on my lap, a good cry, and more requests for an explanation.
Tears the next morning, too,
I guess I am realizing that sometimes, after all you can say and do, you are going to have to let your child experience some heartbreak. You are going to have to watch her want something badly and not get it. Or maybe she will. Either way, you must understand while your support is essential, she is growing and reaching for things beyond your realm and sometimes all you can do is watch it unfold and wonder at the beauty and pain and the magnitude of it all.