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How did your life collide with the headlines in 2007?
Iraq, the subprime crisis, Facebook, immigration, oil prices - 2007 had no shortage of hefty headlines. We'd like to hear about how these and other major news events of the past year affected you. Where did your life collide with the news in 2007?

What's your holiday performance story?
The office talent show, the neighborhood caroling posse, the school pageant ... At holiday time we often sing, dance, and dress as shepherds. Did you bloom in the warmth of your audience's adulation, or freeze up like the snowman you'd rather be building? Did your holiday performance change your life or that of someone close to you?

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Just Give Me One Moment in Time December 01, 2007E-mail this story E-mail this story
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At schools, churches, and concert halls, the holidays are a time for performances. Many kids get their first taste of the spotlight this time of year. Weekend America producer Angela Kim still remembers the first time she stepped on stage. Twenty years later, she realizes that she doesn't remember how her singing sounded as much as she remembers seeing her parents from the stage. This is the first installment in Weekend America's series on this holiday rite of passage.

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I always had a love-hate relationship with performing at school. I rehearsed for our school performances with the other kids, which was fun. But I never got to be in the actual performance so I never saw what it was all about.

I imagined that on the nights of the show, students would walk on to the bleachers, and a gap would reside where I should have stood. I was usually at the top because I was one of the tallest kids.

Our family was a well-oiled machine in those days. My parents worked the swing shift at an assembly plant about 30 minutes away from home. My mom or dad would switch off to take me to school at eight in the morning, and one of them would pick me up in the afternoon and take me to either a family friend's or cousin's house. That surrogate caretaker would watch over me while my parents worked until midnight. After work, my mom or dad would pick me up on the way home and put me back to sleep in my own bed. I still remember how they smelled when they put me to sleep. It was a mix of sweat and gasoline, a sour smell that I found sweet.

When I had evening school functions, our routine wasn't thrown off, because my parents usually weren't able to take work off. And that meant that I couldn't go either. My mom and dad didn't think it was right to ask those who watched me after school to ALSO go to my school events. It wasn't their place.

When I told my parents about my school performances, they would respond in a low voice and tell me how I knew they couldn't go because of work. Funny thing is, I did know because I never asked them to come, I just told them about it to let them know that I understood.

I remember looking down at my dad's weathered hands and the grime under his nails. I never complained. I accepted this as just how things were.

But on the nights of those special events I wondered what that assembly room might look like and the reaction of the crowd. I imagined bright lights blinding me on stage with the other kids. The stage would be decorated in sparkling greens and reds to make it feel like the holidays. And the music! We would sound like angels - harmonizing and singing in unison.

When I was in the 4th grade, my parents actually got their day off request. It was the first time they saw me perform. I admit it, I was excited. They could finally see what I'd been working on at school.

My mom and dad packed up our oversized VHS camcorder that probably weighed 10 pounds, and situated themselves in the center of the assembly room.

We were told to wear winter clothing to match the holiday theme. I was wearing a pink, knit cap with faux white fur trimming with my favorite white cowboy boots. I watch the video now and I look SO nervous. I couldn't even smile. All those people that I had always imagined were right there in front of me.

That stage wasn't as big as how I had pictured it. The patchy green curtains and wood paneling on the back of the stage weren't quite so festive. And there weren't any blinding lights, just fluorescent lights and a few camera flashes. But when I stepped on that stage and looked out into the crowd, my eyes immediately gravitated to my parents. My dad was the ONLY one wearing a suit and tie. My mom was in an unassuming blue shirt and long skirt. My dad never put down that video recorder the entire time I was on stage.

As the camera pans from left to right, I see children's faces that almost look familiar to me. There's April, Nora, Rachel, Josh ...

Some kids look like they aren't even singing and some just look bored with the entire scene. Not me. This was my chance to perform and show my parents why this day was worth taking a day off of work.

I remember taking huge gulps of air trying to belt out those lines.

I realize now, that night wasn't so much for my parents to see me on stage, it was more about me seeing them at school just like the other kids and families. That night we were like everyone else.