The Agony and the … Agony.

Posted on | November 29, 2012 | 2 Comments

I grew up in a Southern Baptist church.  Although we had a Christmas “show” it consisted of the choir members singing and it wasn’t until I was much older that the church started doing a live nativity scene as part of the “show.”  As a result, I always had this idealized “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” style dream in my head of what it meant to be a part of a church Christmas pageant.

When we got back to Macon after the divorce, I really wanted to get involved in a church.  Not so much for my own sake, though I do need a church family, but for J’s. I believe really strongly that children need to believe in something bigger and less fallible than their parents because we will fail them, certainly, and they need someone to turn to when that happens.  So I set out to find a church family, shunning my Baptist roots and finding a home in the Methodist churches here in town.  We visited several, finally settling on a mid-town church where several of J’s preschool friends attend.  He fell right in to children’s choir and loved Wednesday nights for the time it gave him to eat dinner with friends and then sing songs.  And then Christmas arrived.

This weekend is the Christmas Pageant at the church. A Christmas Pageant.  Just like I always wanted.  Just like in my dreams.  To say that I was pumped was… well, a serious understatement.  They had their last practice before the dress rehearsal last night and J and I showed up with time to spare.  I’d picked him up from school a little early so we wouldn’t be late and the first words out of his mouth were “I don’t want to sing I just want to go home.”

I should have listened.

But we’re parents.  We push.  We want our kids to do the things we think they should do, the things we think they’ll enjoy, the things we think are special and important.  Besides that, my parents instilled in me the whole “See it through” attitude of “you signed up for this so you will finish it.” As a result, I walked into the church lobby holding the hand of a very splotchy-faced little boy who was repeating “I don’t wanna” over and over.  I really thought that we’d get to the sanctuary, he’d see his costume, and his friends and he’d turn it all around.  I was really wrong.

We spent a good twenty minutes outside of the sanctuary with him lying on the floor wailing at the top of his lungs that he absolutely 100% did not want to go into that room.  It was like he was a demon who would be struck down if he set one foot inside the boundaries of the sanctuary… THAT is how much he repelled from the doorway.  I talked and pleaded.  I reasoned and rationalized.  I gave options.  I’m semi-ashamed to say I tried bribery. He wanted none of it.

Finally, realizing we were going to disrupt choir practice, I told him we could go home if he went inside and told his choir director that he wasn’t going to be in the Christmas Pageant.  And he did it, shuffling his three year old feet in behind me and clutching my hand like it was his lifeline. His voice was small but he told her in no uncertain terms that he did not want to be a bird in her Christmas Pageant.

And my heart sort of broke.

But you know what? It was MY dream… not his. And he’s three… he’s got many years ahead of him to loathe or love the Christmas Pageant.  And so I walked my little boy down to the elevator and out to the car, telling him it was okay that he didn’t want to do it but that, no, he still wasn’t getting the cookie he kept asking for.  He cried the whole way home, exhausted and sad, (mostly about the cookie) and when we finally got home, he looked at me through wet lashes and spoke softly:

“Mommy? I want to go back to be in the Christmas Pageant. Please? I want to go back.”

When I explained it was too late to go back he threw yet another fit over how he wanted desperately to put on his bird costume and be in the choir.

Because he’s three.

And though sometimes I seem to forget that, he’s not planning on letting me.


2 Responses to “The Agony and the … Agony.”

  1. Lynne DeVenny
    November 29th, 2012 @ 3:31 pm

    Oh, sweetie, I remember those days from my now 27 year old. Once when she was three, we both got home after work on apparently terrible days for both of us, walked in the door, and sank down in the living room floor, both of us bawling our eyes out and howling over what I could not tell you why right now. There were no adults in the room at that moment, for sure. We were at professional mourner level and gooey-eyed, drooly, wet, and exhausted when we stopped. Then we had a shower, put on our pjs, and had Spagetti-Os, which for some reason tasted like a gourmet dinner that particular night.

    Also, at three, she was also the one who shoved in every performance. Woe be unto anyone slowin’ up the choreography because for some reason she felt a good shove would be helpful. Excruciatingly embarrassing for well-mannered Southern parents.

    Oh, man, and she also was a biter for a while. Your post is flooding me with awful memories…lol. And now she’s an adult famous for both her stubborn-ness and creativity. I know, not helpful…lol.

  2. lawmomma
    November 29th, 2012 @ 3:34 pm

    Ha! It helps, it helps! I know this is just for now…. and I try hard to remember what I was like at that age which sometimes, I think, makes it worse. Because I transfer a lot of my own emotions into his so I do a lot of trying to explain things to him because I remember always feeling like I hated all my options!

    Sigh. This too, shall pass.

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