"Happy Birthday Jesus"
Sunday, December 14, 2014
In December 2011 as I sat in the Mims Baptist Church orchestra pit playing in my first "Mims Christmas Celebration" performance I heard a sweet little girl sing "Happy Birthday Jesus" at the beginning of the program and began weeping thinking about how bad I wanted my then sweet 2 year old to one day sing that song too. Three years later and I sit on the front pew watching my now 5 year sing this song with all the joy in the world.
In October of this year Natalie had her first vocal audition as she sang this song for the AWANA kids choir director and our minister of music. She did incredibly well but I was not sure what to expect as there were at least 10 other kids auditioning, some of which who were 2-3 years older than Natalie. A week or 2 passed and I figured Natalie was not chosen for the solo as I was not contacted by anyone. On Halloween Night at the Mims Fall Festival Ms. Kim, the AWANA Choir director, came up to me and offered Natalie the solo. I was so proud and thought it was one of the most proud moments of my life.... Little did I know the emotions that would come just 6 weeks later.
Natalie practiced and practiced this sweet song over and over. We would practice on our way to and from school as well as nearly every evening before our bedtime rocking ritual. She was never shy and rarely missed a note of beat. We even had Mr. Bernard, the pianist at our church, make a recording of the song so we would have an accompaniment track for her to practice with. She began singing it during music time at AWANA on Wednesday evening and I got to cry each and every time she got up to sing. She was never nervous singing in front of her friend and did remarkably well each and every time.
The night of the performance came and I was a nervous wreck. I have been performing ALL MY LIFE and I NEVER get nervous. I can remember 1 time getting nervous for one of my performances during my senior year All-State band audition and the nerves came more as they were posting the results than when I was actually auditioning with my saxophone. But Sunday evening my stomach was in KNOTS! I just wasn't quite sure how Natalie would react to a FULL audience.
As the children came on stage just 40 minutes before the concert began Natalie came and sang her solo and did near perfect. The auditorium was at nearly 65-70% capacity at this time. Natalie stepped up to the mic and "belted" it out like she was Mariah Carey. She was as calm as she could be. I spoke to her afterwards and told her not to worry about the people looking at her and just sing her song for Jesus. She said "Oh mommy, I'm good. I'm ready to sing", She certainly was.
As the moment came in the program for the AWANA choir to sing, I made my way from the orchestra pit to the front row pew where I would crowd the pastor to see my baby! Within the first few words she sang, I had tears rolling down my face like a baby! I was mouthing the words to her and she was just singing along like she was singing to Jesus. My heart was beating out of my chest, I swear but Natalie was as calm as she could be. The choir joined in with her and she turned to look for her Gigi Jackie and Grandpa and I continued to cry as my loving and supportive husband keeps recording her and rubs my leg for support and then hands me a tissue. The song ended with her saying "I love you Jesus" and her mommy continued to cry like a baby!
Immediately after she finished I gave her the flowers I got for her and she gave me a big hug! I told I had never been more proud of her! And her response was "Do you think Jesus liked me singing to him?" But of course, Natalie Grace! He most certainly did!
Needless to say, I am ONE PROUD MAMA! I love you Natalie Grace and I will remember this song and performance for the rest of our lives!
God is good... ALL THE TIME!