The Night Of The Christmas Concerts

Thing 2 has Ear Infection Number Six Million, Seventeen Hundred and Ninety-Four.  It’s every bit as grand as you can imagine, if you can imagine a kindergarten boy who walks around with his head tipped sideways, so that his ear rests on his shoulder, in a hunchback sort of way.  And, even though he is still up and running wild and causing all sorts of delicious mayhem around the house, every now and then he must pause, drop to the floor and howl out his discomfort, like a coyote whose foot is caught in a steel trap.

This is all fine and dandy during the daytime hours, but then last night, I put him to bed at 7:45, because MAMA NEEDS TO BREATHE FROM ALL THE COYOTE HOWLING and LORD, BLESS YOU.  I was in my own bed at 7:59 on a Saturday night, exactly like my twenty year old self was afraid would happen in my old age.  I am an utter disappointment to my twenty-year-old self.  And then Thing 2 got out of bed one hundred times between 7:59 and 11:55 PM.  Lord, have the mercy!  He finally conked out cold, with a fuzzy slipper sock pressed up against his ear, at FIVE MINUTES BEFORE CINDRELLA’S CLOCK CHIMED THE MIDNIGHT HOUR, and I was wide awake, wound up on the adrenaline of ARE YOU EVER GOING TO FALL ASLEEP AND STAY IN YOUR BED AND LET YOUR OVERLY-WORKED MOTHER CRAWL BENEATH HER OWN QUILT?  Of course, I also felt EXTREMELY SAD for the little man, because DADGUM IT ALL!  Ear infections are wicked, nasty awful.

No matter.

I’m learning that being a mother basically means you are constantly tired, and then you complain to your other mother friends about how tired you are, and then you listen while they complain about how tired they are, and then you all drink heavily-creamed coffee and pretend that you’ve got a game plan for dinner, when, in fact, it’s probably just going to be Round Seventeen of Fruity Pebbles Night, because of ALL THE TIRED.  And also because Fruity Pebbles are GLUTEN-FREE, and the children will eat them!

Anyway.

Way back LAST YEAR, when the December calendar page was marked all over and covered with BE HERE AT THIS TIME and BE THERE AT THAT TIME, BECAUSE THIS IS THE CRAZY MONTH OF DECEMBER, the boys had their school Christmas programs… AND!!!!… they both fell on the exact same Tuesday night, because of WHEN IT RAINS, IT POURS.  Thing 2’s elementary school’s program was at 6:00, while the boy’s band concert was at 7:00.  We shuffled our cards and dealt ourselves a hand that involved telling Thing 2’s music teacher, “Thank you for letting the kindergarten kiddos sing first.  We will listen to them, and then we are pulling our kid out and ditching the rest of your gorgeously choreographed program, to race across town and find seats in the high school’s miniature auditorium for our second program of the evening.  Thank you for understanding that Thing 2 will have to miss the ending song that has every kid in your school on the stage, at the exact same time.”

We pulled it off, people.  It made for a very crazy, out-of-breath sort of night, but LAND’S SAKE!  We did it!  Hubs and I, and Mam and Pa and Grammy and Papa and Aunt Pink (who was in town for Christmas) and Sister and Cousin L, all flew around together, as we spent the night concert-hopping.

The boys got all dressed up beforehand.  The boy’s band instructor requires her band members to wear black-on-black this year, which means the boy must have a black shirt, black slacks, black tie, black socks, and black shoes.  It’s a total BLACKOUT.  Any dress code violation results in being dismissed from the stage and finding out that you’ve basically flunked band and will never become a successful college graduate, and you may end up living in a van down by the river.

After I had ironed the boy’s outfit, I began rummaging around in Thing 2’s closet, when he promptly came into his bedroom, threw himself onto the floor in a manner that would have made Scarlet O’Hara herself stand up and applaud, and bawled, “I don’t want to wear clothes like Bubbie is wearing!”  Because… heaven forbid that Thing 2 should dress up!  His idea of dressing up involves putting on a fresh pair of sweatpants out of his dresser, that don’t have a hole in one knee, and adding a clean Under Armour T-shirt that doesn’t have half of his lunch spread out, clear down the front of it.  He’ll even add his light-up cowboy boots to the ensemble, if he must REALLY dress up.

Thankfully, Thing 2’s elementary school’s music teacher is a dear, DEAR friend, and her requirement for the program is simple: “Show up looking nice.”  And while some kids did come in their bow ties and their dress slacks and their polished shoes and their gorgeous ringlet curls and gigantic hair bows, I was able to get my younger son into a pair of khakis and a freshly-washed Under Armour polo without any tears.

I marked it down on the calendar as a PARENTING VICTORY.

Dear Under Armour, thank you for making shirts with collars and saving our lives.  Your company is the wind beneath my wings.  The end.

I don’t think there’s ANYTHING that warms a parent’s heart more than seeing a group of kindergartners walk out onto the stage of an auditorium to line up and sing the Christmas songs they’ve spent all fall rehearsing with their beloved music teacher.

Our kid made sure to check out the lights, even though no other classmate felt the need to examine them.

He also found Hubs’ parents on the opposite side of the auditorium, and THAT required an enthusiastic wave.

The auditorium, which is ENORMOUSLY ENORMOUS, was packed to the gills and had entered the point of STANDING ROOM ONLY, as the crowd broke the long list of fire codes in seventeen places.  We gave up our seats to some elderly great grandparents, who had come to watch the program, and we stood along the wall on the opposite side of the place as Hubs’ parents, where I could get my camera lens pointed right at Thing 2.

When the little tots were finished with their songs, OUR SON felt the need to raise his hands in a victory salute… and then…

… he took a bow…

… by himself.

He is never one to waste an opportunity on the stage, as he’ll always go for the applause he feels like he’s earned.  I just wish that he was easier to spot in a crowd.  (*insert maniacal mad scientist laugh here*)

This second son of ours does not lack the self confidence.

After the kindergartners had exited the stage, Hubs and I chased Thing 2 down, so that we could grab him and head off to the boy’s band concert.  I did manage to get a picture of him with his teacher, though.  This girl deserves every ounce of praise, as she is truly using the spiritual gift God gave her and teaching a room packed with kindergartners.  She is full of patience and wisdom, grace and love, kindness and joy, and we cannot imagine a world in which Thing 2 wouldn’t have her for his own teacher.  She is a blessing to us.  She is, in fact, AN ENORMOUS BLESSING to us, straight from Jesus, Himself.

We rushed out of Thing 2’s concert in a whirl of heavy winter coats, as we navigated icy sidewalks in a rush, to zip straight over to the high school for the band’s performance.

The boy is musical.  I know that I’ve mentioned it eleventy-hundred times on here before, but he gets ZERO of that musical talent from his parents.  He defeated the odds of having a mom and a dad who can’t carry a tune in a bucket, and who don’t understand the difference between sharps and flats.  He rose up above his non-musical heritage, and he can play the HECK out of the clarinet and the piano and the saxophone.

The boy is also what is commonly called a PHOTO AVOIDER.  When he sees me in the audience, pointing a telephoto lens from a Canon straight at him, he ALWAYS looks the other way and pretends that he has no idea who that woman in the audience is.

I’m sure the Lord will forgive him for this offense.

BUT!  Lo!  That Tuesday night, my firstborn saw me with that camera from his spot on the stage, and he SMILED STRAIGHT AT ME!  I was so stunned at this opportunity, that I nearly missed the shot for the photo he was blessing me with!

He’s a handsome little punk, for sure.

The high school kids did a marvelous job with their band concert, and we rolled home about 8:45 that night.

We had done the impossible, as we pulled off two Christmas programs on the same night.  THAT is a Parenting Victory, for sure!

Happy Sunday, everyone.

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