When Alexis, my eldest daughter, was born, she had a sweet little cry which she seldom used. As she grew, that little cry turned into an ear piercing cacophony that she knew how to use to express her displeasure. It sometimes seemed impossible that such a loud noise could emanate from such a tiny body!
I detested soothers. Loathed the idea of stuffing my daughters' cries back into their bodies with the insertion of a plastic tube designed to shut them up. In my belief, babies cry for a reason. It was my job as the mother to find loving ways to ease their tears. It was my responsibility to understand the source of their discomfort so that they could learn to trust their emotions and their right to express them, and to learn to trust me to turn up when they needed me. Perhaps it was having had the freedom to cry out loud as a child that Alexis has turned her voice to singing out loud and clear as an adult.
Last night she competed in a singing competition. Over the past five weeks at Cowboy's, a well-known downtown nightclub, dozens of performers have sung their hearts out in an effort to claim the right to sing in the enormous canvas tent of Cowboy's at the Calgary Stampede. On stage last night, four young women competed. The fifth contestant, a young man, dropped out prior to the show. The room was crowded with supporters and the normal, "It's Friday night at Cowboy's" crowd, "let's go have a foot-stomping, hootin' time!"
We were about 20 in Alexis' fan club. Mostly her friends except for we four 'elders'. In a room filled with twenty-somethings anything over 30 felt ancient and believe me, I felt older than anybody there! But it didn't deter us. Along with my daughter Liseanne and Alexis' boyfriend, my sister, and a couple of friends who love to hear Alexis sing, we stood and cheered with her friends, our enthusiasm a palpable voice of support.
What a gift to watch my daughter, that tiny little bundle of squirming, squealing, energy who arrived into my life 21 years ago last week, stand on the stage and belt out her two numbers. She sang with passion. Clarity. Fervour. She was a star.
Alexis' singing is always a lesson for me. When she sings, nothing stands between her and passion. Nothing stops her from giving it her best, her all, her rapt and utter attention. She is one with her song. One with her voice. She is the music that rises out of her into the world in such sweet, pure notes of joy.
That's how life is meant to be lived. At one with the moment. In harmony with every element of our being as we commit, without reservation, to passionately being the best that we can be as we create a world of beauty with our vibrant songs of joy.
Last night Alexis stood on stage and sang her heart out. She's not a large woman, in fact, she's very petite. But standing up there, belting out her songs, she filled up all the space there was and shone brighter than the lights shining down on her. Her voice rose above the constant chatter and laughter of the crowd as people stopped talking and started listening. Standing in the middle of the stage, her eyes closed as she reached deep into the recesses of her soul, her passionate rendition of Son of a Preacher Man stole the noise from the room and filled it with the vibrant chords of her beautiful soprano.
When the votes were counted the news surprised no one. She won. She'll be performing next Friday night again in the Grand Finale, vying for the right to sing at the Stampede. Whether or not she wins is irrelevant. She's already won just by entering and giving it her best. After she came down from the stage last night, she came over to me, gave me a hug and said proudly, "I did it."
She's right. She did it. Prior to the show she was ambivalent about performing. She's always sung, but has shied away from using her voice as the powerful force she owns to reach into people's hearts and open their minds to the power within. Last night she claimed her place at Centre Stage. Claimed her right to be the centre of attraction in her very own life and in that act, stated unequivocally, I am a strong and peaceful woman, capable of using my voice to help other's find their right to be the best that they can be at whatever they are doing.
She's inspired me to keep writing. Keep speaking up so that my voice can be heard above the drone of life moving on without sense of direction as to where its going. She's inspired me to continue being the light in my life, shining the way for others to follow. Along with her sister, Liseanne, who is equally as impassioned in helping people find their voices through the wise and steady focus of her talents, Alexis' star is guiding me to being the best me I can be!
I am blessed.