I had to give a short announcement at my church the other morning. And I was terrified.

I have been going on stages since I was 3. My mom was the choir director at the church I grew up in, and she had the genius idea to start a Cherub Choir. There were tens of little ones in our small Methodist church at the time, and, it being the 80s, I’m sure families with young ones had nothing to do but turn on Fraggle Rock or scrape Aquanet off of their bathroom walls or shop for body suits to wear to their Jazzersize classes or look up casserole recipes in their fundraiser Potluck Favorites books. So my mom gathered these little ones and drew picture lyrics out for us and had us stand in front of church and charm the congregation with our yell-singing.

When I was around 5, I was given two lines in a church play and said my first 3-word line right on cue. Then I did the potty dance, peed myself in front of the whole crowd, and my mom whisked me off the stage. In the bathroom, I still remember crying with great concern over who would say my 5-word line.

This is why, after years of church choirs, Children’s Theater, high school musicals, and even some recent adult stage experience, I still get the nervies when I have to stand up and make an announcement in front of a church full of people who I know would love me even if I said my first 3 words and then potty danced and then peed myself. It’s something experience just can’t shake.

The day of the announcement, I brought Wally Ben, who is 8 years old, with me. On the way to church, I asked if he wanted to hear me practice what I was going to say.

“No,” he replied.

“Well, I’m practicing anyway,” I said, trying to remember why I asked him in the first place. Then I proceeded to give my minute-long speech, hands shaking just slightly, stomach fluttering, nether-cheeks clenching. He sat in the back, reluctantly listening. I wrapped up and asked, “What did you think?”

“That was incredible, Mom,” he said.

“Thank you!” I said, feeling my hands steady slightly with the encouragement.

“Really! I don’t know how you did it!” he said. My stomach was starting to feel un-fluttered. Quite like a boring old stomach again, actually. I was feeling surprised at the comfort, but not too surprised. This is the same kid who, as a joke each night for the past month, has been patting me on the back when I give him a good night hug and saying, in a funny whisper-y voice, “You did good, Mom. You did good.” Even though he is at least 98 percent joking, I take a disproportionate deal of comfort from it. It’s a nice thought to end the day with. We should all have someone say this to us at the end of a day.

“Wow, Wally, thanks!” I said, my nether-cheeks returning to their cushion-y selves.

“I mean, you were saying a lot of words, but at the same time, you were somehow saying, ‘Blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah’,” he continued. “I mean it! Wow! It sounded like two things at once. Like words that mean something, but actually, the whole time, just ‘blah blah blah.’ Do you have two mouths? Are you magical?” I looked back at him in the rearview mirror. He held his straight face for a split second until our eyes met, and then he smirked.

We cracked up the rest of the way to church together. And while we laughed, I thought about how the kid had a point. It didn’t really matter. Even if I did walk up, pee my pants, and he had to whisk me off the stage, someone would say my lines for me while I cried in the bathroom. As they say, the show would go on. And life would probably be better if we could all take ourselves a little less seriously most of the time.

Up in front of the church, I said the words I had planned to say without even a hint of a potty dance. I walked out to Wally Ben afterward and asked how he thought I did.

He shrugged and said, “It was better in the car.”

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