My Idol


My oldest son backstage before he performs at our local idol celebration on Tuesday.

You know when your kids say they want to do something and you hesitate to let them? Like jumping off the diving board or taking the training wheels off their bicycle?

Maybe I’m the only one who hesitates.

But for two years my oldest son asked me to let him try out for our city’s American Idol competition. And for two years I hesitated.

His dreams of becoming a local idol champion began when he saw my sister compete in the competition. He watched his aunt bring down the house two years in a row and cheered her on as she won the competition last summer.

But I was nervous to let him try. Would he sink or swim. Ride or crash?

I knew he could do it, but was he ready? I encouraged him to participate in his school and church choirs and told him we had to make sure he was prepared to audition.

This spring we started singing to YouTube karaoke videos together trying out different songs for his youthful voice. He picked one and I took him to tryouts.

He seemed cool and confident. I was a nervous wreck.

I waited by my phone checking it every day until we were emailed the news. He made it to the second round. Then to the finals.

Tuesday night he sang in front of hundreds in the grand finale.

And he rocked it.

I have never been so nervous in my whole life. I grew up performing and felt at home on a stage. I remember getting butterflies in my stomach and adrenaline rushes before singing to big crowds but I have never experienced motherhood nerves.

My sweet 9-year-old was going to sing in front of hundreds of others who were going to judge him as part of the finale result.


I knew he was ready but doubts flew into my mind.

Was he prepared? Did we pick the right song? Will he remember his actions? Is he going to smile?

I took him to sound check in the afternoon and saw him walk onto stage, grab the microphone and sing his heart out. At that moment I knew he was ready.

He was the very first performer of the night – which I actually think played to his advantage. He didn’t get the chance to see the others and compare himself to them before he sang. But he did have to break the audience in and get things going.

And that’s just what he did.

He belted it. He got up and walked around. He raised up his hand and fake punched the air. And he smiled.

And I smiled.

My heart felt like it was going to burst. All of the nerves were replaced with pure joy.

He rocked his song the entire time. I could not have been more proud.

He and I sat together while they tallied the votes – 40 percent of the score was audience vote, 60 percent judges’. I thought we were both going to go out of our skin waiting for the results.

Then we screamed and jumped when they called out his name. He was the idol for his age group. He did it!

And I let him do it.

I shouldn’t have hesitated. But I wanted to protect him. He was braver and stronger than I could have ever imagined. I should not have been worried.

All that hard work paid off. Now he is living his dream. And he can’t stop smiling.

But make no mistake, if he had not won, he would still have been my idol. In more ways than one.

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