December, 2008 was such a warm holiday season, we went to many Christmas events that we could not help but catch the Christmas Spirit. I was able to catch my nephew in his show, my daughter in her holiday concert and my son in his. we also went to a concert my daughter's friend had at his high school a few towns away. Being with kids during the Christmas season makes it all come alive. I have enclosed a video of my son during his first band concert ever. He was a featured drummer, which makes up for every afternoon when he runs downstairs tot he basement to bang on the drum kit for hours at a time. They love to see the light shows and they especially love dressing up in their Santa hats and funny socks. Walking through our local elementary school I ran across a slew of elves and gingerpeople.
The season was not without it's pitfalls though. On Christmas Eve, we went to church for afternoon mass. The kids put on a nativity pageant every year and the children's choir sings during the mass. My son Eric was in the pageant for the first time and my daughter sings with the junior choir. I had to bully him into participating. Our Choirmaster is a very small Italian lady named Rita. She could run the whole church on her own, she fundraises all year long and is the first person to get on the phone and get support for different events. Rita is in charge of the pageant. This year we had some problems because CCD times were changed into split sessions, leaving no time for the children's choir to practice. So we lost the children's choir altogether. These were our nativity pageant performers every year, so her crop of actors had to be pulled from the CCD classes at the last minute. My son said he did not want to do it and I pushed him into it. I told him that Rita was our church treasure and that we would do anything she needed. She might not be there very much longer and we needed to support her cheerfully. He told ME to act in the pageant, which is fair, I guess. maybe I could have played a cow.
Anyway 2 practices later, it is Christmas Eve and Eric does a fine job of playing one of the 3 kings. Then the group of performers and volunteer moms goes downstairs to take off their costumes and rejoin the mass. I told my husband that I should get up and go help, but he stays my hand and says not to go. I always helped when my daughter was in the pageant, but my husband does not like to cause a scene, and if I get up and leave my pew, people might notice. Let me tell you, this whole not creating a scene does not work out very well for him because my son never comes up.
I am sitting in the third pew, right where I was when I was waving to him as he stood on the stage and I never saw him re-enter the church with the other kids. They were coming through every door and my neck was swiveling around as I tried to find him. My husband is signing to my daughter in the choir, still on stage, to ask if she sees him. No, she does not. They are spelling the words out because they only know the sign language alphabet.
After 10 more minutes, my husband goes in search of him and comes back without him. Now I am freaking out, "peace be with you," NO WAY, I cannot concentrate at all and I am praying like mad. I go and search the choir loft, the closets, the choir room and start walking up and down along the pews. Some of Eric's friends are helping me look. Unfortunately, the church and the entrance and lofts are fully packed with all the people we don't know who never bother to come every week during the year.
Visions of sex-starved priests and strangers are running through my head and I am crying. I am looking at the microphone on stage thinking, "I could just end my misery if I wrestle it away from the priest and call my son to the front of the church." My husband told me later that he was worried that I was thinking about that. Well, I guess he knows me.
Finally, I go back to my seat to tell my husband that I could not find him. It is now communion time, we figure Eric has to go up to get the body and blood, we will just try to catch him then. The people in front of us have now noticed that I am crying and they start whispering to each other. Talk about not creating a scene. A lady from the other side of the church was waving frantically at us and we saw that she was trying to tell us that she thinks she saw Eric on her side. We craned our necks and tried to catch a glimpse, but had no luck. Turns out the little weasel was in the SAME ROW as us, on the other side of the aisle. As he gets to the end of his pew to go up for the communion, I grab him and march him up to the priest to get the wafer, skip the wine, and then continue marching into the hallway to finish freaking out.
Eric said he could not see us, we had moved. We told him we did not move. We were in the same spot as we were when he was on stage looking at us. After bickering back and forth he says, "See, I told you I shouldn't be in the pageant." Well, I flicked him in the head then because one should not beat one's child on Christmas Eve. I told him Santa might leave him coal and we went back to our seats. It took a while for me to stop crying,my eyes just kept gushing though I was much calmer. I barely heard my daughter sing and I have no idea what the priest talked about. It was the worst church service of my life and I am getting him lifts for his shoes next year. Now Eric will do the pageant until he is 50, and I will be a volunteer mom until I die.