Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Who Are You And What Have You Done With My Child?

Last night was Mary's closing program at her school. School isn't over yet, she still has a week, but each "grade level" has a night for it's program and as the school has grown, they've needed to spread it out over the last couple of weeks of school in order to accommodate everyone.

So we arrived early in order to secure good seats. I dropped Mary off at her class, pecked her on the cheek and turned to leave telling her to "sing pretty and be good." I tossed that out casually, almost an afterthought, never dreaming that I would really, really mean it.

We were in our seats, near the center of the church, waiting for the kids to file in. As we waited, we waved at and spoke to friends and other parents of children in Mary's class. Sean was impatient and unhappy.

"When is it gonna start?? Why did I even have to come? I was having fun playing outside with my friends. This is stupid!!"

"It will start soon," I soothed. "We're here because we're family and we support each other. Mary has been to all of your baseball games, now it's your turn to cheer her on. But NOT REALLY! Don't actually cheer, okay? Just clap. It'll be over quickly, you'll get your cookies and lemonade afterwards and then you'll still have some time to play when we get home."

I may or may not have hissed some threatening words in his ear when he whined some more.

Finally the school director and the church's pastor welcomed everyone and the classes started filing in and making their way to the front of the sanctuary. I was overjoyed when I discovered that Mary was in the exact center of the front row. My pictures were going to turn out great!!

Each class took turns singing a little song about the weather. Mary's class sang "Mr. Sun, Mr. Golden Sun" complete with hand actions. See?
Then it was another time for another class to sing and her attention wandered.
Still, she wasn't bothering anyone else (yet) and she wasn't doing anything to draw attention to herself (yet). At least no more than any other 3 or 4 year old.
She saw us and waved.
She got tickled about something and shyly laughed behind her hands. This is the Mary I know so well. This is the Mary who will hide behind my leg and speak shyly until she's known you about 7 years. (Yes, I know she's four. Math was never my strong subject.)
She sang about the 5 green, speckled frogs sitting on a little log.
And then she discovered the projector. It was mounted high on the wall at the back of the sanctuary. You know the kind? It's used to show hymn lyrics, pictures, power point presentations, and the like. When I asked her later about it, she described it as "the round thing up on the wall. I think it was a camera."
Aha! That explains a lot.
She spent the next few minutes rest of the program tapping on the shoulder of the very sweet and patient little boy next to her pointing it out. By the end of the program, half of the people in the sanctuary were turning around in their seats to try and figure out what the little girl was pointing to.
She also sang the ABC's with her own special version of sign language, wherein she would try to act out or write the letters in the air.
Her finale was to sing their prayer at the end in her opera voice. She doesn't call it opera voice, that's my term for it. She calls it "singing pretty like mama." Her warbly, operatic soprano was accompanied by grand, diva-like arm gestures. Yes, this was in a prayer they were singing to thank God for the food we were about to eat. Nice. What happened to my shy child? Put her on a stage and she morphs into some creature I've never seen before!
Finally, when her class led us in The Lord's Prayer, she got all pious. For about 10 seconds. Still, I was hanging onto those 10 seconds with both hands!

When we finished and were having refreshments, several parents commented with good humor about Mary's performance. They enjoyed it but were puzzled about what she was pointing at. I was able to enlighten them. And the mother of the little boy who was continually poked on the shoulder by my child? Waaaay too sweet. Much sweeter than my child or I deserved. She said, "Oh it was cute! And Mary kept my child from standing like a lump. She helped animate him!" I totally need to take lessons in diplomacy from this woman, y'all.

Sean told me as we were leaving that it was the BEST. PROGRAM. EVER! When I asked him why he told me it was because Mary was so hilarious.

*Sigh* Looks like I've got some work to do in performance and audience etiquette. Go figure.

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