Last night was the annual Christmas Concert at Our Lady of the Subdural Hemotoma. I believe this is now the 7th year in a row that we have fed the kids a quick dinner, made them put on itchy clothes, and returned to school so that they could stand on the altar in front of several hundred people and lip sync the words to Christmas Carols. As annual holiday traditions go, it’s hard to find one more annoying, and less enjoyable for everyone involved than the annual grade school Christmas Program.
Oh sure, there are always the handful of parents whose smiling Aryan children are dressed in the finest red and gold dresses, and suits and ties, and singing along at the top of their lungs like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting while Dad records the moment for posterity on his digital video camera. But for the rest of us, this night is as enjoyable, and necessary, as a trip to the DMV.
At Our Lady of the Subdural Hematoma, the Christmas Program is such a big event that they auction off the front row of seats during the annual fundraising auction, and some rich parent from North Oaks invariably drops a few Franklins to sit in full view of everyone, smiling away at their future Fraternity / Sorority President. Not all of the parents at OLSDH are rich though. There was also the parents that used to show up 2 hours early to get a good seats and brought along a cooler full of beer for tailgating while they waited. Since the program is held in Church, that behavior was quickly frowned upon, and stopped. Yes, belive it or not Catholics do place some restrictions on their drinking.To discourage tailgating, and people camping out in Chruch overnight, they instituted a new general admission seating policy, and kept the doors of Church closed until 30 minutes before the event. The result is a Who concert like crush of Soccer Moms, and Grandparents, shoving their way through the crowd like Black Friday shoppers, as they rush for the prime seats in the true spirit of the Holidays.
Once upon a time, when our children were still cute, and it was still a novelty, we came early, and worried about getting a good seat. Now we just meander in after the rush, and sit in the back where we can make snide remarks under our breath about the other parents, and their demon spawn. It’s sort of our own annual tradition. As for 20 Prospect Jr., and Lil’ Miss 20 Prospect, they look forward to this night with the same anticipation that I did when I was a kid at SJS. Which is to say it ranks somewhere between the Dentist, and shopping for Easter Clothes on the list of least favorite things to do.
Sitting there in the darkened church last night, listening to the croaking pubescent voices of the 6th grade class butchering another holiday standard, I realized that our days of going to Christmas Pagaents are quickly coming to an end. In 3 years the kids will be off to join the heathens at a secular High School and we will no longer have to suffer through one of these, unless they become such social misfits that they join Choir or Band. Hopefully though, we have raised them right, and they will never consider heading down that dangerous path of performing arts that leads invariably to working at a renaissance festival. (shudder).