Sunday, December 20, 2009

Those Presbyterians Know How To Party

Last Thursday night, we attended the St. Andrew's Preschool Christmas Program. Sutton had been talking about it for weeks--Miss Emily, the music teacher, was preparing them well. There was to be caroling, bell ringing, sign language--all kinds of good Christian hijinks abound. From time to time, he had burst without warning into "Away in a Manger" and "Silent Night," as well as some song about "Happy Birthday, Jesus" that involved him singing so loudly and with so much fervor that he became red in the face and made me wonder, at least briefly, if he would have an aneurysm onstage. We had his black pants and white button-down clean and ironed. The kid was ready for his stage debut.

The show started at 6, but we arrived around 5:15, as Santa was also planning a visit to the program and was to be available for pictures beforehand. My children never miss an opportunity to suck up to Santa (and in Bellamy's case, remind him that a Barbie RV SURE would look nice in her bedroom), so we made sure to get there plenty early to talk to Santa. Of course, since we arrived early it also gave Sutt the opportunity to play tag with his classmates, hence dirtying the knees of his black pants and disheveling his hair, but alas, 'tis the price one pays to talk to get on Santa's good side, so it was all good.

At 5:45 sharp, we delivered Sutt to his classroom and found our seats. Pops and GrandBabs had come out for the occasion, and Bellamy was decked out in her Christmas dress. Everyone was ready for the performance. Shortly after we were seated, the children entered the sanctuary. They had all had red velvet bows with tiny bells pinned to their collars. Every one's hair was brushed, their cheeks flushed, their eyes bright. Until Sutt entered the room.

Clearly, poor Sutt had decided that he was adverse to performing for the masses. His eyes were red, his cheeks tear stained, his shirt partially untucked. He was herded into the room glumly, amidst a sea of festive little classmates. As the girls preened their way to the stage, the boys standing tall and ready, Sutt spotted our family in the crowd and immediately shoved his way free of his class and sprinted straight to our row. He leaped into his Daddy's lap, buried his face in his shirt, and informed us (albeit very muffled) that there was no way in hell he was going up on that stage.

Although this was extremely unexpected (at least to me) we shrugged and decided to watch the show. I figured Sutt might eventually decide to go onstage with his friends, and in the meantime we were already settled in, so we might as well check it out. The music began, and so did the fun.

A brief list of things I saw during the performance:
1. One kid from Sutt's class completely fell over, and crashed into the Christmas tree behind him, leaving nothing visible except the soles of his shoes that were straight in the air.
2. Two boys decided to start up a conversation during "Jingle Bells." This conversation turned into them each licking his own set of handbells, then allowing the other kid to lick them. Perhaps they were comparing flavors. I do not know.
3. Just as the infamous "Happy Birthday, Jesus" song came to a quiet moment before the (very loud) chorus, one child burst into tears, screaming, "I. WANT. TO. GO. HOME!"
4. A few children, mid-performance, decided that their reindeer antlers were indeed an impediment to their ultra-cool Christmas attire, and yanked them off to chuck them into the audience.
5. Mid-performance, post the one kid falling over, another kid fell over and dominoed the entire back row, save the one child on the end who, apparently, has super sonic balance. The performance never wavered, even as five children tumbled off the risers into oblivion, causing teachers galore to sprint onstage and help right the minions.

To add to the joy, Sutt decided, during the grand finale, that perhaps he would indeed participate in the program, but only if Mommy went onstage with him and held his hand. I agreed. We crept to the stage, but once we arrived he informed me that he was "too tired to stand up" and collapsed into my lap. I had the great honor of singing the finale with the preschoolers, while a boneless Sutt puddled in my lap and refused to utter a single sound.

Ah, yes. The joy of the season. Merry Christmas to all.

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