Tonight I watched my five and seven year old grand daughters perform in the Christmas Concert. Being back in a school gym for my 27th Christmas Concert was not in and of itself something I would choose to do. But the girls were dressed in their sparkling dresses with their eyes sparkling. They had rehearsed and been coiffed by their talented mother. They were ready.
The eldest admitted to being nervous and had been ill all day. The necessity to perform for two grandmothers and a grandfather allowed for no other recourse. The show must go on.
I informed Rahne the eldest that when I get butterflies in my stomach every time before I sing or recite poetry, I have them fly in formation and pull my chariot.
Previous to this conversation, the middle girl, Teagan, informed us that even though it is cold, blustery and snowing continually, it is Fall, “Because my teacher said so.”
The eldest informed me that the butterflies had to be horseshaped to pull the sled. She looked impatient with my silliness. I said if it were fall in winter then butterflies could leap into the air like horses. It all made sense.
The deadly boredom of long, convoluted plays being joylessly presented in a crowded school gym gave way to inspiration. In one choir number a curly headed girl got up on stage, standing in the middle of the bleachers full of singers and just Auntie Mamed her way through two songs. Her eyes were on fire. Her arms flew out in all directions. She bent at the waist and scooped the air. She was unafraid. The stiffness, reluctance or fear around her had absolutely no effect on her. She knew who she was and she was put on this earth to sparkle out. Everyone woke up. The audience sat up taller, her ferver became to work its way first to those adjacent to her and next to the entire row standing behind her. Her infectious joy was spreading. We all thanked her. For being herself. For being lively in this life. We applauded.
My grand girls came on and were dressed like little girls and not replicas of Lyndsey Lohan on a spree, or Brittany Spears in her bling tart stage. It was refreshing to see how tidy, graceful and dignified they looked. My daughter is so proud of her girls and she protects them from the madness in the world. Even down to how she dresses them.
I lost the middle girl in the last number because she was standing in some crowded group of same sized children by after almost 30 years of teaching acting I found myself weeping copiously when the eldest was bang on the rhythm, coming in on all of the correct cues and totally confident on stage. While at least twenty other children around her were lagging when a new phrase was begun, she ignored them and stuck to what she knew was correct. I was in awe of this seven year old with the inborn ability to deliver exactly what the director had asked of her. Her feet are on her own path and she is not mindlessly following others. Again, her mother has encouraged this attribute in her daughter.
I was bored, I was appalled at some fashion choices (ever the fashionista), and I was proud. I was proud not of what I have ever done. I was so full of gratitude for the woman that my daughter has become. I was so full of love for the strength of personality in those two little girls who stood on that stage tonight. A five year old and a seven year old trusting life, raising their voices in confidence, being so beautifully who they are because they are loved.
And that was my 27th Christmas concert. It was their first.
On the way home in the car we applauded the youngest who is three for sitting through the concert so nicely and looking so beautiful. All four females joined in.