Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Greatest Christmas Pageant Never

I woke up extra early because today was the day of Owen's Christmas pageant. I made the coffee, scanned the headlines, and heard the phone ring. And right away, I knew.

Owen's teacher explained that the parking lot was icy, and she felt it was best to cancel the pageant. "I'll see you in January," she said.

I hung up the phone, and felt tired. Oh so tired, and oh so sad. I called Paul's parents and told them not to make the drive, and to save the Christmas cookies and cheesy toast for another time. I told Paul to go ahead and get ready for work. And then, I cried a little.

Owen had gone from being violently opposed to the whole idea to okay with it to being downright excited about his "project" as he called it. He was going to be a shepherd and his costume was going to be blue and he was going to sing songs about angels and Mary rocking her baby.

There was going to be birthday cake for Jesus and apple slices, and he had surprises for his Mommy and Daddy. (I think he had made an angel craft for us, and that he had wrapped it too---I don't know because he told us it was a surprise. For the first time in his life, he got to hold a secret in his hands like a firefly.)

Now, there will be no birthday cake, and when I see the angel in January, it will be admired briefly, than packed away for another season. I will never see three-year-old Owen in his blue shepherd costume.

None of these things are tragedies, but I'm not going to apologize for mourning them, just a little.

Stupid snow.

Paul held me for a moment, and absorbed a bit of my disappointment. Soon, we heard Owen creep down the stairs.

I collected myself, and told Owen that he wasn't having his pageant, because of the icy parking lot.

"What happens when the water turns to ice?" he asked, as he slowly rolled the peanut butter around his mouth.

"Well, it makes it slippery," I said.

"Why does it make it slippery?" he asked.

"Because the water is smooth, instead of rough," I said.

"But why?" he continued. 

We talked about the water cycle and dizzy tires and how Lightening McQueen would move on the icy roads, for about five more minutes. Our conversation, as always, went beyond my scientific and philosophical understandings, each "why" stretching my reasoning like a worn rubber band.

This revealed the obvious: Owen was not heartbroken about missing the pageant. This was all me. 

I'm still not apologizing about it. I'm proud of my kid, and I want to cheer for him.  I want his grandparents to cheer for him. I want the small universe of his preschool to acknowledge him and his classmates. Here he is. My Owen. The shepherd in blue.

And yet, things happen. Crying and sighing isn't going to change anything. And besides, I thought to myself, "I'm sure Mary didn't want to have a baby in some barn, either."

Do you see my vicarious Mary guilt? I'm not even Catholic, and I'm thinking of the poor Blessed Mother.

Those Catholics are good.

I decided, for everybody's sake, to have a mini-concert, right in our kitchen. I dressed Owen in a blue towel, gave him a painting rod, and found an alligator and pig to herd. He immediately vetoed the towel, but sang his songs in his own, Owen-like fashion.

It was beautiful and sacred.

I love the little guy.


Coby Goesling said...

Oh, please don't apologize for mourning a little. You were excited because Owen was finally excited about it. Plus, it's a Mommy right-of-passage - getting to see your kid perform in these little shows.

I had a similar small breakdown about my kids not getting to feed horses. I packed the diaper bag the night before, got up early and showered...I drove around for an hour looking for the freakin' horse farm, couldn't find it, then David threw up all over himself because he got carsick, so I had to give up and go home. I called Shayne in tears!

Nikia, May and da kids said...

Are you going to post a picture of Owen in his blue Shepard outfit?? That was really touching and why shouldn't you be a little sad?? This was Owen's night to show off his hard work and talent.

Kids are pretty resilient and I know from personal experience as well, there are just many times that you want to cheer your kid on and they keep doing kid stuff. Next time mama!


Unknown Mami said...

I totally understand your disappointment. I'm glad you still found a way to celebrate your child and his achievement.

adrienzgirl said...

Ahhhh...the little heartbreaks we endure as parents. It's totally o.k to be disappointed!

Maggie May said...

ah it's so hard to rally when those kinds of dissapointments come along with our kids. you did great!

DUTA said...

I'm sure "you love the little guy".
You're dissappointed for him, happy for him, sad for him, excited for him. You're a Mother, a good one, and he, your little, cute Son means the world to you.

Ms. Moon said...

I wish I could have seen the beautiful and sacred concert in your kitchen. That one you'll never forget.

Naomi de la Torre said...

I just found your blog on If Evolution Really Works.. and I love it!! You are an incredible writer. And I completely understand your feelings about the cancelled paegent. I would have felt the exact same way. I'm glad to hear you had your own concert. It sounds like it was wonderful in its own right. I'm following you now. Please come and visit me sometime too, if you want:

Laughing Stars aka The Stark Raving Bibliophile said...

It's funny to me that people always talk about Catholic Guilt and Jewish Guilt, but you never hear about Protestant Guilt. What do Protestants do with their guilt, anyway? Oh, and my conversations with the kids regularly go beyond my scientific and philosophical understanding. I love it! Of course, I choose to believe my kids are brilliant thinkers and questioners -- it's not that I'm not the brightest crayon in the box.

(((HUGS))) Nancy. I am really sorry about the pageant.

won said...

I was nervously reading, waiting to hear Owen's response. When I finally read it, I squealed a little "Thank God".

I am relieved he wasn't terribly disappointed!!

Minivan Lover said...

I'm sorry you were disappointed and glad you had an impromtu performance in the kitchen. :)

Anonymous said...

Ohhhhh... I would be totally sad...But Why..? because we love to see our children dress up, act cute and socialize with others..and on stage to boot..I'm sad too because mine don't have any more concerts or jazz bands or debates or dance recitals or anything was so fun when it lasted..I do still have graduations though..I'm glad Owen was good with it...hes soooo cute..they both are..Merry Xmas....!!

Cat said...

I'm so sorry it was canceled, but I'm really glad you got to have your own mini-concert. I would've been really sad too.

michelle said...

I feel your pain. I'm still not completely over Ty's cancelled cello concert. We mourn those missed moments in time that can not be rescheduled or raindated or re-enacted.

It sucks

Anonymous said...

Owen rocks! So do you! Mom tears are beautiful and sacred.

This line really struck me. It's beautifully written!
"each "why" stretching my reasoning like a worn rubber band."

AudreyO said...

I so understand. My kids went to an elementary school that held yearly pageants. I loved going. I loved inviting my parents and my brothers and sisters. Yes, it's awesome to hear people applaud for your child. I'm sorry this year didn't happen for you guys.

Jen said...

Awww...I'm glad you recreated the pageant. Did you video it?

Bethany said...

Aw, this was really sweet. I'm sorry for the darn ice. I felt your disappointment. And of course it was okay. Good for you for allowing yourself to feel it and how wonderful to have someone to hold you for a moment and absorb some of it. Perfect word. I love how it just bounced off your son though. And that seemed to help you too. Your pagent in the kitchen sounds perfect. But what is this cheesy toast you speak of?

Corrie Howe said...

You did in fact have the greatest Christmas pageant. Not exactly like you expected, but still you had the opportunity to see you like guy shine.

Melani said...

I can't agree more with Corrie! That is awesome you had your own pageant :)

kys said...

And you worked so hard on the dressing....,

Nicki said...

I would have been disappointed and mourning too. Even though Owen wasn't bothered by it, it is one of those things that grown-ups love to experience with their kids! I hope you will get many more chances to see Owen on stage!

Mrs4444 said...

Sad as this story is, I loved this post. You're a good writer, my friend, and an honest one.