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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Working (Mom) Moment: In the Audience

Fourth Grade Concert
The best part of my week has been sitting in the audience. On Tuesday night, I was honored to be at Hannah's fourth grade choir and instrumental concert, and on Wednesday afternoon, I watched one of my bosses take part in a panel discussion at a swanky hotel with a celebrity moderator.

It feels like yesterday that I was the one who needed a freshly ironed white shirt, or my treasured pale yellow Orchard Ensemble T-shirt, or the polyester but formal-looking black dress we wore for high school concerts. As you can probably guess, I *loved* these concerts. I was good at singing and really enjoyed doing it (I still do, and wish it was a bigger part of my life today). I'd practice my choir songs in front of my bedroom mirror, keeping my hands at my side and enunciating the final consonants. Now, it's Hannah's turn, and I've found I love being in the audience even more than when I was up there myself. I love the misplayed notes, I love that kids still sing washed his face in a frying pan "Old Dan Tucker," I love the corny choreography. But more than all that, I love the sense of pride and accomplishment that taking part in an event like this instills in kids. Sitting in the audience, my heart was bursting in pride for all of them.

I attended the panel discussion at the last minute, not realizing I was going to be accompanying him despite having helped prepare him for the discussion. Panels are tough, because participants are expected to be experts in their field but not actually sell the products they manage. Most of the time, we focus on what makes us unique, and remembering to stick to the general is challenging. But it all went well: the other panelists were interesting and covered diverse points of view, the moderator was clearly a pro, and my boss did well and was happy to have me there supporting him. And again, I was proud, just getting to sit in the audience.

So often, we wish we were the ones at the center of attention, on display and heard by the masses. This week was a good reminder that being in the audience and actively listening can be a real joy too.

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