I scrambled to find matching holiday outfits. I wanted both of them to coordinate and took pride in finding the best deals with a limited budget. I think I was more excited about the matching green bow tie with my daughter’s holiday dress than they were, but it didn’t matter.
Then came the morning to get dressed for their preschool holiday concert. Here goes wardrobe warfare again. I am convinced that most of us parents loathe the moment when we have to rally up our troops to enter combat (a.k.a. get them dressed). One is whining because her tights feel weird; while the other is complaining that he can’t wear his character sneakers that light up to a holiday concert. Listen, the only lights I want to see are the Christmas lights kiddo. We went a few rounds. I contemplated bribery, but truth be told, I knew the bribery would only call for hyperactivity or a nap before we even made our way into preschool. They went a few rounds, but I inevitably won.
Then came the camera. Every parent at least wants evidence of their work and proof that they survived the parental warfare, right? Well, I did anyway. It took at least four rounds of boot camp before I could get a decent picture. There they stood. Miserable, not amused and utterly over
Then came the car-ride. As if the sleepless night, wardrobe warfare, bribery cries and refereeing wasn’t enough, now I have to go another round to get their winter jackets and hats on. I don’t blame them really. My daughter looks like she could model a commercial for the human inflatable plastic balls while my son looks like he’s ready to climb Mount Everest. We make our way into the car with tears, screaming and a couple of “Dear God help me,”moments before I even put the car in reverse.
Then come the cries for snacks, discomfort and prayers that we’ll make it. I begin to question why I put myself through any of this and the fact that I barely had time to brush my teeth before I’m about to make my way through the entire preschool clan. We finally arrive and I make three trips to carry in the gifts, gear and camera before bringing the kids in. Here’s the thing. No soon after you got them dressed are you doing it all over again after getting all of their snow gear off. So, we went another round except this time, I was over it before they even were.
The kids go to their separate classes and I waited in the sanctuary where we would be eventually joined by the kids. I was still anxious from the rounds of wardrobe, arguing, bribery, refereeing and screaming that it took me awhile to come down from the high octaves of hell. Then, the lights dimmed and the instrumentals to “Silent Night” started. How ironic right? I was praying for a silent moment of peace and the opening song was “Silent Night.” It wasn’t nighttime, but I gratefully welcomed it.
Then I looked over my shoulder with my camera in hand and saw him. My Shepard. He made his way down the center aisle before taking his position on stage. Before long, my sheep made her way down. Autumn had been trying to explain that she was a sheep all week, but I was confused and didn’t know she was referring to the school play. Yet, there she was. I had to turn my head in both directions to capture them both on opposite sides of the room. Autumn stared at me and smiled with her smooth, felt sheep ears that weighed more than her sweet head.
Isaiah stood there on the stage proud and tall. I couldn’t snap my camera fast enough. Right to left and left to right, I just kept snapping. Then, I stopped.
They were no longer singing Silent Night, but all of a sudden it got silent. I couldn’t hear anything, not even them. My camera went to my side and I felt a gasp of air in my lungs. I was desperately fighting against it, but couldn’t. I mean, what possessed me to choose the front row? I couldn’t hide and I didn’t even have a tissue near me. The tears came and there was no controlling it.
There I was turning left and right to see their sweet faces. They were smiling, happy, confident and proud. They caught glimpses of me and it was as if they wanted to see if I was looking for them. It was in that moment that I received an invitation. It was in that moment that I realized it was their first holiday concert together and likely their last. It was in that moment that I saw my two oldest babies singing, smiling and dancing together. I was overwhelmed with pride, sadness, happiness and grief. It was in that moment that I realized that this moment was temporary. I was overcome by it all. I wanted to run out of there because I didn’t want anyone to see me emotionally naked; not even the kids.
Afterwards the kids ran to me and asked if I was proud of them. I explained that my tears weren’t of sadness; but rather they were of joy. I was beyond proud of them and couldn’t contain my need to wrap them tight in my arms. On the way home I told them how proud I was of them several times. When they woke up from their naps, I told them again. Before we went to bed, I made them watch the video of them singing as we giggled and intertwined our feet together on the floor.
It’s hell getting them ready for these things. It just is, but my God is it worth every second. Some day I’ll have to split up my time to capture their individual moments because I recognize they won’t always be together. They’re meant to be two birds flying in route of their own direction. So in that moment I accepted the invitation that not many parents receive. They experienced that precious moment at the same time and I got to experience it with them.
They were the most adorable Shepard and sheep there.
In Love & Truth,