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What is appropriate, anyway?

21 Jan

I have been looking forward to today for a few weeks.  But its importance has been overshadowed by more recent events, so when I woke up this morning and it was Friday I was thrilled.  I didn’t have HUGE plans, but today was the day I: received a long awaited package in the mail (no, not my necklace, which looks like it won’t be ready for our anniversary after all, too bad…), got to see Bronwyn skate, and got to see Bronwyn’s class perform their french play.

I know, I know- lame.  Although, the fact that I even used the word “lame” should give you some indication of what constitutes fun for me…

The freeze-dried fruit was delicious (my package); Bronwyn’s play was adorable; and, watching 60 4-5 year olds try to skate might be the cutest thing I ever witness in my life.

We arrived at the school with a few minutes to spare, and we took our seats.  Bronwyn was not actually in the play (Poule Maboule), but it was entertaining nonetheless.  After the skit though (which must have featured every SK child who speaks french at home, either that or the French teacher should get a raise) all the kids sang a few songs.  I cannot describe the cuteness.  I am kicking myself for forgetting the camera.  Bronwyn was a star!  She wiggled her hips, and jumped around, and wagged her finger with the sassiest kids.  She sang loudly (the words she knew) and every time she lost her place, she would wave at me from the front row.  When it was all over, after the kids bowed (Bronwyn bowed several times…!) but before anyone could clap, Holly jumped up and said, very loudly, “Bronwyn, you were GREAT!”.  My heart just melted; from pride over my eldest’s accomplishments, to pride over my middle’s selflessness and obvious joy in seeing her sister succeed.

Fast forward an hour or so (lunch with Becky helped pass the time) and we arrive at the arena to “help” with the skating.  I packed the kids in the stroller (along with more fruit snacks!) and we headed toward the school to meet up with the kids.  They were all so happy!  It was a beautiful day, only -10 or so, with a sunny sky and no wind.  I got Bronwyn’s skates on, and turned to help a few more kids.  We got out to the rink and I surreptitiously glanced around to see what everyone else is doing.  Ok to go on the ice without skates?  Check.  Ok to bring the stroller out on the ice?  Seems so.  With Holly pushing Joss in the stroller, I am free to hold Bronwyn’s hand.  She only accepted my help until she spied Mrs. Shields.  She slipped, and slid headlong across the ice until her head crashed against the teacher’s foot raced towards her teacher.  I watched as Mrs. Shields patiently showed Bronwyn how to get up by pushing off her knee.  For the rest of the hour, she put this new skill to good use.  After only 10 minutes or so, she abandoned the bar that is helping her stay upright, and goes off on her own.  She was on her bum more than her feet, but like she told my mom later that night: “I fell a lot, but when I wasn’t falling, I was skating perfectly”.  And to quote another child that afternoon: “why are her snowpants so wet?”.  She had a great time.  Holly too.  Who used my inattention to race around the rink (in her boots) sliding on her stomach and shrieking with laughter.

Which brings me to my point: what is appropriate behaviour for my other kids in this kind of situation?

Holly was having fun.  She wasn’t sliding into people.  She wasn’t using the kids’ resources.  But, she was there, and trying to fit in, and, I don’t know… I didn’t pay for her.  She isn’t in school.  Are the other parents whispering behind my distracted back that she-should-not-be-here-with-those-hooligans-she-calls-children-doesn’t-she-know-any-better-that-isn’t-what-we-do-here…?

I don’t think my kids are obnoxious.  I don’t think I am one of those oblivious parents whose kids race around restaurants ruining other diner’s dinners, or yell loudly during concerts, or who take up so much attention that it would be easier if I wasn’t there.  I have let them dance in the aisles at a church musical.  I have let them run amok at an outdoor concert.  But aren’t these appropriate venues for this sort of behaviour?  And does an arena filled with Kindergartners fall under the same heading?  It is hard because, presumably, if parents thought their actions were inappropriate, they’d stop.  But what if they just don’t realize?  And what if I am not realizing?!

Quote of the Day:

Me: Who had fun, raise your hand!

Look in the mirror to find 2/3 children fast asleep and the third waving her hand frantically.

Bronwyn: Me, I did, me, your daughter, Bronwyn, the one who skated all by herself, in case you were wondering…

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The Reason for the Season

24 Dec

This was my first year organizing the Christmas Concert at our church.  I have helped out in the past (usually behind my mom) but this year I was asked to do it at our current church.  I quickly proposed the idea that Mom and I had been hashing out for months, and the committee loved it.

Side note:  I swear that it was my idea, and my mom, with equal persistence, insists that she came up with this idea 20 years ago!  Needless to say, we both tackled our respective projects with determination, and both turned out well… but mine turned out better

The concept, for those of you who care about this sort of thing, was a slideshow of the Story of Christmas.  We took pictures of the Sunday School children, dressed up in costumes, and then someone photoshopped the images onto realistic backgrounds.  Another man wrote and directed a small play and we used the slideshow as a powerpoint to illustrate his words.  Then all the kids who were there on Sunday morning got up to the front and sang a few songs.

Simple.  Stress-reduced.  Captivating.

Oh, and beyond cute.

Holly was the star of the singing (if-I-do-say-so-myself).  She was by far the loudest child up there, and also front and center.  Should I mention she was one of the youngest?  She knew all the words and sang them from her heart.  I was so proud.

All the kids did very well, and I hope that they have a re-show of the slides on another morning so all the kids who were away will get to see themselves.

So, after all was said and done, Bronwyn came up to me: we had sang Away in a Manger (with the verse from Jeremiah duet) and Christmas is a Time to Love.

“Mommy, Christmas isn’t just about Love, you know”.

Visions of spoiled brats screaming that they hadn’t received enough presents were racing through my mind.  What else could I have done differently to promote the real reason for Christmas?  I explained that Santa was a fun story, but not a true story.  I told them all about Jesus in the Manger and how that really happened.  I explained all about how Christmas is a time for loving, and sharing what we have with others.  I emphasized that presents are nice to get, but that giving is more fun.  We shopped for and bought (or made) special presents to give each sister.  I only got the girls 3 things for Christmas (a book, a game, and pjs each).  We donated a pile of toys to goodwill, and we put change in the Salvation Army kettles whenever we could.  What else could I DO?!?!?

“Christmas is also about Jesus being born”.

UH…

“Where did you hear that?”

“My teacher told me”.

“Your Sunday School teacher?”

“No.”

“Your Pioneer Club leader?”

“NO- my TEACHER, Mrs. Bell!”

So, kudos to you Mrs.  Bell.  You’ll likely never read this, but I am so pleased that you are using your influence on my child to back up what I have been telling her all along.

Happy Birthday, Jesus!