Seven and A Half Minutes

By Megan

Friday was the last day of preschool for Bean before Winter Break, and her class put on a Christmas program for the parents. Peabody and I got ALL GUSSIED UP in our Christmas finery and I packed his diaper bag full of snacks and quiet toys and juice and plotted diversionary tactics in my head all morning and on the drive to school. I needn’t have worried!

We arrived promptly at 11:25 AM for the 11:30 program and since every other child’s mom or dad had managed to arrive at 11:24 and get the tripod with the video camera set up in the middle of the front of the classroom, I wheeled Peabody’s stroller off to one side of the seating area and crouched beside him, my iPhone video camera flashing its red light, trained on the side door through which all the kids would make their entrance.

The door opened and a collective hushed AWWWWWWWWW… sighed over the room as our babies – each one the cutest, sweetest child in the bunch to someone or several someones – wandered in looking slightly cowed, and stumped up the three stairs to the stage. Teachers – 4 of them – waved and pointed and tapped and smiled and scooted their little fold across the rostrum, fighting the kids’ natural inclination to stop dead in the middle and stare wide-eyed out at their audience.

Once in place, still shuffling though, bending and twisting, the children craned necks and squinted eyes to find My Mom and My Dad and Grandma and Grandpa. I watched Bean and willed her sweet little neck to Turn! Turn to the right, Bean! We’re over here! BEAN! Peabody spotted his sister and began to squeal happily, and sure enough, she looked right over to see him, bent at her waist and waved wildly, her face splitting open in the Grin of the Century.

Teachers dragged the kids’ attention back and they broke into a Christmas rendition of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. I got the whole thing on video via my iPhone, but all you can hear in the recording is Peabody cheering loudly for his big sister. Next the children recited the story of Jesus’s birth. The only two words I could make out were “manger” and “sheep,” but it didn’t matter because I was busy studying my small but confident and pleased Bean, up there in her little Christmas dress, her gaze floating around and around and always back to Peabody and me, flashing us that grin and wiggling her fingers in a hidden wave down at her side.

During the final song, two little boys in the line spontaneously grew fatigued and plopped down on the stage on their bummies. Bean tucked each hand into the opposite sleeve of her dress so she looked like a little caroler wearing an old fashioned muff. Once settled into that position, she issued forth a yawn so big I could see her spleen. Then she rocked from heel to toe, heel to toe, looking out at Peabody and me, her eyes connecting with mine again. My baby girl.

And then they all bowed, a few here, a few there, little heads bobbing down and up, proud smiles breaking out on tiny faces as applause and shouts rang out. The teachers directed our babies sideways off the stage and out to us they poured. Seven and a half minutes after they’d climbed the stairs to begin the big show, they climbed back down and broke out running toward their families.

I caught Bean in my arms, tears in my eyes. She hugged back and then bent to grab her brother up in a squeeze. HI PEABODY! DID YOU SEE ME UP THERE SINGIN’?

Joy, people. Joy to the world. Joyful joyous joy indeed.

Merry, merry Christmas from the FriedOkra family.

7 Responses to Seven and A Half Minutes
  1. Alice
    December 21, 2009 | 6:36 pm

    HOW COMPLETELY ADORABLY PRECIOUS!!!!! (sorry I’m shouting, it’s hard not to when confronted with such CUTENESS!!!) Awwww. I miss that kind of thing with homeschooling. Lovely to read your experience in such detail, because I was alllmost right there with you. xxx

  2. Musings of a Housewife
    December 21, 2009 | 9:48 pm

    Precious. I get my turn tomorrow. I.Can’t.Wait.

  3. Jenn
    December 23, 2009 | 1:12 am

    I LOVE this post. You are such a great writer, I feel like I was there beside you.

    Last year Riley’s Christmas program was the best thing I went to all season. I was sooo disappointed when I found out that they weren’t doing one this year!

  4. Melissa
    December 23, 2009 | 9:03 pm

    Aww, so sweet! :o) There is a whole new kind of pride that comes when seeing your baby performing, and doing so well, and being so cute.
    I love how it was so important to her to include Peabody in all of the revelry. I’m hoping and praying for that kind of love betwixt mine.
    Merry and joyous Christmas to you!

  5. Carrie
    December 27, 2009 | 3:29 pm

    Aw, this is so sweet – I love to hear about how your little two interact – I just love it. 🙂 My little girl is just 5 days old, but seeing her interact with her big brother just makes my life complete. 🙂

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