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Non-conformist

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/annegirl/1823863484/" title="Photo Sharing"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2010/1823863484_7478b5de3c_o.jpg" width="165" height="273" alt="Anne's first public performance" class="img-right" /></a>Anne's first public performance.
There she was, in her little red boots and carrying her little red umbrella. She looked shell-shocked that unlike previous rehearsals, a full-house sat before the small group of performers. At least 2 dozen image capturing devices were pointed at the kids.
The music came on and it took a while for the kids to realise that it was the cue to perform what they've practiced the last few weeks. A few get into the groove, the others see their more alert classmates and follow suit. Anne holds the umbrella firmly over her head, not swaying it like the rest, possibly because we've always told her to "hold it properly so no one would get wet".
Just as she decides to get into gear, she catches sight of us and begins pointing. Forget the actions, <em>Mummy and Daddy are here</em>. She smiles radiantly, still pointing. She turns to the nearest classmate and begins to tell her, rather loudly, that Mummy and Daddy are here. Faith and I can barely hold our cameras still, half embarassed that our daughter, who stood stage centre, was destroying all efforts at putting up a synchronised performance. We were also immensely proud that she stood a distance from us, her very own person, acknowledging our presence.
And that our presence made her smile.
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This is the first time I've ever been to Anne's school. Even as I type this I'm apalled at my lack of involvement in such a critical area of her life. I can name her friends – only because we have her class photo and Anne waxes lyrical about each and every one of them. Whether they cried today; or who didn't want to share his or her toys.
Have I spent too much time at work?
Will I have time for her when #2 comes around? It becomes clear to me that there's a lot less sand in the hourglass, and I do not have to wait till she's 21 to lose my little girl.
It's an odd feeling watching her grow and come into her own, and suddenly realising she's growing up too quickly.
How independent is she? Faith and I discovered that one of her toenails was almost pulled off in those little red boots. And she kept smiling through it all.
And pointing.

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