My daughter was singing a brief acapella solo for the 5:30pm Christmas Eve service. She loves to sing and at almost age 9 is getting to the point where this thing called nerves is starting to develop. At home, she seems to almost always be singing something and has a great, 8 year old, voice. Our house is often filled with singing and dancing.
For this service, she was really excited to sing at first and then nerves came into play. On the day of the service, she reminded me of me, wondering why she had agreed to do this. I then tried to explain to her that if she is Ariel on Broadway, she will use a microphone and sing to many more people. Trying to reason this way never works with the third grader. "No, Ariel doesn't have a BIG microphone." Whatever. Being on Broadway, her dream, will be much easier, I'm sure. (Note sarcasm)
She was wearing a beautiful blue holiday dress and a pink sweater on top of the dress. It's not just any pink sweater - my mom, her grandma, gave it to her and she loves it. She's outgrowing it, it's looking pretty old, and at some point it may need to "disappear," but for now it keeps her safe, as if Grandma is with her when she wears it.
When I asked her if she was going to take it off to sing, she mumbled a response that included some kind of yes, but as it grew closer to when she was going to sing, I was sure the sweater would remain on. Then she would feel safe. At her age, hugs from me are no longer cool, so things like this are substitutes.
After the welcome, she had to wait a few seconds, go up to the microphone, and wait for the intro. Wearing the pink sweater, she whispered quietly to 10, glanced at me, and walked 10 feet to the microphone. She listened for the organ intro, and sang just fine. Then she returned to her seat and immediately, the pink sweater came off.
Now, if only a new pink sweater would appear... probably not, but she'll find something. And hopefully those nerves don't overtake her ever, because she really loves her performance stuff.