Going into the recital, I was nervous for her. I had spent the past week worrying that she would be the kid everyone in the audience felt sorry for. Images of her tripping over her ballet slippers or falling off the stage kept me awake at night.
Worst of all, I spent too much time worrying that I would finally learn what it must have felt like for my parents to watch me embarrass myself during the one summer I played little league baseball. I was an extraordinarily untalented right fielder back in '87. To this day I don't blame my parents for wearing dark glasses and false beards at each game. I would have too. After all, what parent wants to admit that their kid's the one who clears his throat every time the coach tells him to "choke up," or who squints like Popeye every time someone tells him to keep his eye on the ball?
Fortunately, after watching the opening act of the recital--a thrilling tap-dance number by a chorus line of elderly hoofers--I realized that I had nothing to be embarrassed about.
As it turned out, my daughter did a fine job. All the worry was for nothing. Still, one of the hardest parts of parenting is letting your kids get into situations where they could fail and bring shame upon the family. But these situations are a part of growing up. If you deny them to your kids, you run the risk of them turning into Boo Radley--or worse, professional bloggers.
Of course, I sometimes wonder if I would have been better off as a Boo Radley than a failed little league right fielder. I mean, that definitely would have stopped my chain-smoking ex-coach from suing my parents.