“What were you thinking of sweetie, when you were standing there with your medal?” I ask little T as I remembered seeing her looking so small and a bit lost while standing up in front of a huge crowd.
It was her first time to stand in front of more than three hundred people. She played little Alice in her school play last year, but little T’s village school is a small one. Even with parents and grandparents the crowd was never more than sixty, so yes, this was definitely her first time.
She looked so small and young, standing in front with the other gymnasts waiting for their medals. I tried to catch her attention, but she didn’t see me. She seemed lost in thought, as if she wasn’t even daunted by everyone around her with their cameras, phones and iPads recording every minute of the event.
When they first called her name, I muttered “What?” under my breath. I was standing away from my husband, poised to take photos just like the other parents. We weren’t aware of any award or nomination. But yes, they called out her name again. I saw her coach lead her to the centre. I don’t think T knew about this either.
Admittedly, I wasn’t really happy when they announced that T was included in the exhibition. I felt she wasn’t ready, especially since she only recently joined the development class. We know that she’s the weakest gymnast in their group, being the youngest and the newest, but when we asked the coach, she seemed confident that T could do it. She also missed a few practices. Had she announced that day that she didn’t want to do it, I wouldn’t have pushed her.
But she managed the performance. At one point though, she did miss a few steps, but so did the others and the crowd seemed to really like her too. Perhaps it was because she looked so tiny?
My little girl, my little star. She continuous to astonish me with her inner strength of character. Upon first impression, people always see her as the shy one, the reticent one. She’s not the kind who would candidly talk to strangers or grown-ups and tell them what she thinks, unless prodded. But when it comes to standing in front of a crowd, even when she was in reception, she wouldn’t think twice about doing it.
My little girl, my little star. My husband teared up as he watched his daughter perform. As for me, I didn’t realise how nervous I was until I looked at the photos I took of the event. I normally take good photos, but that day, they were just all bad, unfocused, and it was the same with the videos.
This motherhood/parenthood business. My mother didn’t warn me about how overwhelming it is sometimes. How you feel that your heart could literally burst out of your chest, because it is so full. How one tiny little person could just make you feel like the biggest person in the world. And that’s certainly how we, her parents felt that day. I am in awe of her.