They say you get few second chances, and I’m afraid to say I’ve found that to be pretty true in life. With that said, something awesome happened recently. Annie got not one second chance, but two!

Back in June we took Annie to see “Monster’s University” at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood, and before the screening they had a special performance on stage. A group of “Fearleaders” (as opposed to cheerleaders) sang and danced, and at the end they even brought out Mike and Sully! It was very cute and Annie, like the other kids, lost her mind.

On the drive home, though, Annie cried when I asked her if she liked the show. When I asked her what was wrong she said, “I wanted to be on stage like the other kids.”

I knew exactly what she meant. Toward the end of the stage show the fearleaders asked the audience if any kids wanted to come dance with them. I could see Annie wanted to go on stage, but she froze. By the time she got her hand into the air other kids had already been selected.

Heather later told me something similar happened at last year’s pig races at the farm. A number of kids got picked to lead each pig’s cheering section, and Annie wanted to be one of them. Unfortunately, she didn’t get her hand in the air quick enough that time either.

“If you want to do something you can’t be afraid to say so,” Heather told Annie. “Next time put your hand in the air right away.”

Annie listened as we told her about being brave and putting herself out there, but I wasn’t sure she got the lesson. Between you and me, I still have trouble putting myself out there sometimes, so it was a lot to ask of a three-year-old.

But then we were at Disneyland recently for “Mickey’s Halloween Party” and saw it had a “Monster’s University Dance Party” which was basically the same show as the one at the El Capitan. Annie was very excited about this, and when a fearleader asked the kids in the area if they wanted to join her onstage with Mike and Sully, Annie immediately thrust her hand into the air. The fearleader nodded and said, “Come with me then, sweetie!” and lead her on-stage. She did awesome:

Thumbs up!

scare off
Her best scare face!

As great as that was, this last weekend might have topped it. We went to the fall festival at the farm where they again had pig races, and when the people there asked for kids to volunteer, Annie put her hand in the air and was picked again! (I also have to give a tip of the cap to Heather, who wisely positioned us right in front of where she remembered the people asked for volunteers last year.)

Annie took her job as the head of her pig’s cheering section very seriously, and did a fabulous job:

cheering on the pigs

so excited she was picked

I have to say, there was something emotional for me about getting to see Annie do these things she missed the first time. I don’t know if it was all the things I’ve wished I got a second chance at in life and never did, or the ache in thinking that Annie might suffer heartbreak like that, too, but either way it made me so happy to see her make her little dreams come true. She’s already much braver than I ever was. I hope she never loses the ability to reach out and grab what she wants in life. It’s an important skill to have, and not just if you want to lead a cheering section at a pig race.