Some of you might remember my grocery shopping trips with “The Belle of Wal-Mart”. Also known as “Miss Sunday”. Also known as my 2nd child, Rebekah Sunday Bossy Britches Gore.
Those trips to the store where she preened and said “hello” to every person we passed left me – someone who usually enjoys the spotlight – sweating and blushing and ducking and all let’s-get-outta-here-maybe-I-don’t-need-white-bread-after-all flighty.
But apparently, that was nothin‘…
Last week both girls had back-to-back well-child check-ups at the doctor. My Mom accompanied us, holding Rebekah’s hand while I carried Baby Betsie. I walked through the door to the lobby and was making my way to the front desk when I felt someone flit past me. Rebekah. I was walking…she was running. And she beat me. “Heyyo!” she cheerfully piped from our side of the counter. “Do you have any stickahs?”
I should interrupt here to tell you a little bit about Rebekah’s voice. When she is not squawking orders at her brother or growling like Beelzebaby, her voice is as sweet and melodious as a soprano song, her words are precise, and her vocabulary usage and comedic timing is spot-on. In other words, when it comes to talkin’ and gabbin’ and singin’ and story-tellin’, she’s a natural. Fascinating. But then again, I am her doting-with-a-capital-D mother…
The receptionist stood up to see who belonged to the forthright voice on the other side of her counter and smiled down at Miss Sunday. Which was all the encouragement my little girl needed. “Do you wike my dress?” Rebekah asked her, spinning around in clumsy circles.
“I love your dress!” the receptionist answered with a huge smile of delight, now joined by another receptionist who was watching the show.
“Do you wike my shoes?” she asked them, holding out one Minnetonka-moccasined foot and then another. “They’re my Indian shoes!”
“Oh your shoes are precious!” said the other receptionist, now joined by two nurses, standing and peering over the counter at Rebekah. “What is your name?” one of them asked.
“My name is Webetah.” she answered. “And dat’s Baby Betsie. She’s my fweind. Do you want me to sing you a song?”
Now there were six people behind the counter. In a cacophony of various words and tones, they gave her a resounding affirmation.
I looked over at my Mom in disbelief. “Is this for real?” I said to her through my umbilical cord that is still connected to her. “I was thinking the same thing…” she answered.
“I will sing Daby Cwockett.” Rebekah decisively said, but when she got to “raised in the woods so’s he knew every tree” she changed her mind, stopping mid-sentence. “No. That’s Bubba’s song…I know!” she gasped, as if she had just discovered electricity. “I’ll sing my A…B…C’s!!!”
And that she did, very slowly and deliberately. As I continued to fill out our forms at the front desk, a full audience directly across from me, I began to sweat and blush, just like I did in Wal-Mart last year with “the Belle”.
And when she completed her song, I kid you not, a loud cheer went up and all seven people behind the desk began to applaud…and the lady-who-thought-she-loved-attention wanted to crawl on all fours to our private exam room. I mean I enjoyed her little show so much, but Lord have mercy, was I ever glad to be out of that lobby!
But that was also nothin’…
A few days later, we were at an engagement party honoring dear friends. The party was winding down and many of us had migrated into the living room where we were relaxing and visiting. Suddenly, Rebekah came running out from the back rooms with a tiara atop her head. She tossed a brush to my friend Kara and asked (demanded) her to fix her hair. When she was finished, she drew the attention of an entire roomful of adults to herself by spinning around in the middle of the room and loudly asking “How do I wook?” We, of course, told her how pretty she was, but then she completely and utterly shocked me by placing one arm in front of her belly and one behind her back and…bowing. A full-out bow. Like a maestro bows, but so much cuter and chubbier. I have never in my life seen her do that and my mouth literally dropped to my double-chin as we all burst out laughing.
But that was really nothin’…
Last week during our Sunday evening church service, Mr. Gore was cuing up a video he planned to show, and ran into unforeseen technical difficulties. “Sit tight! Talk amongst yourselves!” he encouraged as he ironed out the problem, but you know how these things go…we were “in church”, so everyone sat very quietly, periodically looking back to see if he was making any progress, the silence awkward and long. Rebekah was sitting at my feet, engrossed in her little bag of goldfish. I offhandedly whispered, “You should sing for us, Rebekah.”
I was half-testing her, half-kidding and zero-prepared for what followed…
She hopped immediately up, marched down the aisle and up the steps to the stage.
She turned to face the audience.
She cleared her throat.
She scanned the crowd, making eye contact with several people, a sober expression on her little chubby face.
And then she began to sing. “God Bless America” was her choice, and though she started off a bit on the quiet side, as her confidence grew, so did her volume.
By the time she had made it “to the pwaiwies,” I was sweating again. And when she finished that last “home sweet home” and the entire church applauded and cheered, I was in the beginning stages of an anxiety attack. Rebekah, however, took it in stride, once more putting one arm in front of her belly and one behind her back before bowing like a seasoned champ, a smug little smile on her precious little face.
She then marched down the steps and back to her spot in the floor at my feet where she continued to eat her goldfish as if what had just happened was as normal and common as it could be.
Her poor stage-mother, however, took at least ten minutes to recover.
Later that night, I held her in the dining room and stole as many hugs and kisses as I could before she climbed the stairs to her bed. Her performance was still on my mind.
“Rebekah…” I asked. “Did you enjoy singing on the stage at church and having everyone watch you?”
“Mmm-hmmmm.” she said from behind her pink butterfly pacifier, and then she looked me right in the eye. “Maybe that could be my new show.”
Oh Lord, I hope not.
But then again…I kinda hope so.