40 Winks Til Christmas. and whales.

It was hot and stinky. Kacie was climbing on my face, and Dani was discussing with Emelia who was the most popular in the 4th grade. Both trying to beat eachother's best Napolean Dynamite impersonation. Funny...for the first 20 minutes. Gosh.

The eager parents and their oversized camera bags seemed to fit nicely in the water closet sized gymnasium of our Elementary School. Everyone had a place...in the aisle or against a wall. Or on the floor. If you were prompt and efficient in being 1 hour early, you got a seat.

Then the hush of chaos as our comfy little Tetris grid was rocked by a stream of cute little 1st and 2nd graders in festive pajamas filling the bleachers. Parents stood, cameras flashed, cuties waved with grins bigger than my headache. Understood. Everyone wants to see their kid. And in the chlosterphobic nightmare, go ahead, stand for a minute.

I made good eye contact with Jake, blew a kiss and kept my place, being careful not to raise my camera too high and block the view of the sea of raging parental pride behind me.

Did I mention it was hot?

Jake had the introduction. I couldn't see him, so I did indeed raise my camera a few inches past the point of no respect to perhaps get a shot of his adorable animation as I listened to the voice of my sweet boy. I had to do what I had to do to get the video for daddy, who was coaching Andy's basketball team.

As Jake returned to his place, 5th spot 3 rows down, I put the camera away and listened, because I couldn't see anything, and I'd get annoyed at the parent who was letting their kid stand on the chair right in front of the 5th spot 3 rows down if I tried. To see.

So I listened, and spent quality time hushing the Napolean's and peeling Kacie off my face...and watching the lady a row in front of me, stand. The whole time. In a chair seat.

There was drama.

A few parents asked her out loud to sit down. Repeatedly. Some nicely, some not. Most parents just grumbled obsenities as she ignored every request. Some moved, clogging other crowded corners. She responded at one point by turning around and informing the congregation that if they wanted to see they could stand up, too.

And she stood.
She was widely unliked.

I was a little disturbed.

So as I heard the program, I watched her. And wondered what her story was.

I think she grew up in a normal home. According to whatever normal you choose. She had kids early (she didn't look very old), thus giving up her dream of saving whales so she could be home to raise her young family. I didn't see a dad, so I think he works nights. Missing his youngest's first Christmas program, and sad about it. I can respect that.

And maybe her son has had some behavior, or health problems. And she's really proud of him for wearing the red pj's instead of the black ones. And they spent all afternoon making his Santa hat together. And she just couldn't hold back the tears as she tried to mentally document the evening for her over-worked and absent husband, so they could reinact the good parts when he's home on Christmas Eve. And maybe she chose to stand in a chair seat instead of against the wall because she was desperate for her other children to stay and support their younger brother and not sneak off for a soda. Or a smoke. So she locked them in the middle section, and stood, praying that others would understand. But we didn't.

The real story {whatever it is} may not justifiy the action, but it isn't my job to judge that. I'm no author of justice. I can just write a story. Or invite her to lunch.

So whales are what I chose for her, as I watched her stand.

And listened to my Jakey.

He's the moral of the story.


Angie said...

What a wonderful thing to do, rather than gripe and complain. It's true that we never know what someone is going through, we don't know their story and what makes them do what they are doing.
Thank you for choosing to be patient and to share with us your tactics.
I think that I would have wanted to huck something right at her noggin, but perhaps I will think twice next time something like this happens.
I want to be more like you. That's my goal for the day.

cally said...

I like you Angie.

You might want to rethink your goal for the day. And I'll tell ya why...if you've got time...

but not in public.

Wonder Woman said...

"Perhaps the greatest charity comes....when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt," Marvin J. Ashton

I think Angie's goal is just fine.

wendy said...

What a funny/cute story. Oh how I remember those school programs. Sheesh, sometimes the battle of it all would tend to over ride the meaning for being there. YOU ARE RIGHT - he is the moral of the story. From what I heard, he sounded great - perhaps JD can set him up in an acting career one day. ---GOSH

Becky said...

I think that was a beautiful story for the ornery standing lady. Maybe I should try doing that more while driving...instead of obsenities?

Natalie said...

That was really great. Parents sure get crazy at school functions, don't they. We went to a high school football game where all the elementary choirs were singing in the beginning and ONE MILLION moms and dads came. There was not enough room in the stands to hold them all and we were ignoring the poor lady in charge of reserving some rows for the band members. I felt so bad for her. (But sat there anyway! I had no where else to go and they had actually made us PAY to get in!) I'm still mad...grrrrr.

Anonymous said...

Good for you Cally. You never know what others are going through...so patience must persevere, no matter how hard it may be at the time. I think choosing your battles is always the most important thing to keep in mind. Forgiveness is divine as are you!!

Beeswax said...

Whales is nice. I think you are nicer than I am.

Your story is nicer than mine:
That lady is PMSing real bad and will likely regret this behavior in the morning.

But you are right. I think I'm always happier when I don't say anything at all.

Even when it is hard. Even when you turn the other cheek, and crane your neck, but that lady is still blocking you view of your kid.

ShEiLa said...

It is so discouraging to go to an event to watch your child... and not be able to see them. oK, even frustrating... nailbiting... it's like road rage but the indoor kind.
They always try to pack parents into small areas like sardines... and then wonder why they complain? duh. all i wanted was to see my child... hello. I sympathize... I have been there done that.

Yo Mama said...

That Jakey has the sweetes voice. Seriously, he did a great job. You should be proud. How long did you make him work on that without meals. Until he got it right. You stage Mom, you. Just kidding. For real. You're an awesome mom.

cally said...

Isn't Jake the best? I'm not afraid to brag. He just informed me one day he has the intro to his school play. And I was like, "Isn't that a big deal?" And he was like, "I don't know." And I was like, "Well I think it is. We've got to practice." And he was like, "I already know it mom." And he did. I didn't even get to go over pronunciation or stage presence or anything.

He robbed me. He's that cute.

AndyPandyJackaDandy said...

Great job with the imagination. My imagination would have been working double time to figure out a way to get her but cheeks in her seat and out of my view. Next time I'll try to contemplate just what exactly those butt cheeks have been through...well...you get the idea...