The spotlights shone brightly, giving the holiday décor a magical twinkle upon the stage. I could see the excitement in my son Lars’s eyes as he silently went over his rehearsed songs of yuletide merriment.
And similar to every Christmas concert in the history of mankind, the crowd was abuzz with anticipation.
Now I’m not going to come right out and say that I loathe these types of childlike concerts. I’m sure if I did I’d find an angry mob of Christmas do-gooders busting down my door at any given moment.
And really they do have an odd sort of appeal to them.
I get to dress my kid up in a super awesome Christmas suit.
His excitement leading up to the event is irrefutably charming.
And not to mention I can secretly judge all of the other kids and come to the obvious conclusion that mine is probably the only one destined for stardom.
So yes, there are a few positives when it comes to the school Christmas concert.
However, something else happens each year this recital comes to pass. Something evil and wicked. Something that turns innocent parents against one another. Something that transforms them.
There I am 40 minutes early to the matinee showing (because that’s how big of a deal this thing is — it needs a matinee showing as well as an evening one). I walk into the gymnasium and to my utter surprise more than half of the chairs are already occupied. There goes my bright idea of arriving early to get a good seat.
I move towards the nearest set of open seats. Back and back … and back some more.
By the time I find a spot, I begin to wish I had brought my fancy theatre binoculars because where I sit I can’t see hide nor hair of my son. But ‘thems the ropes’ in the Christmas concert game, I guess. After waiting an excruciatingly long time — for no reason whatsoever since I didn’t get a good seat anyways — the play had begun.
The only way I could determine this was by the horde of parents getting up out of their seats and into the aisle to engage in an impromptu photo shoot with their kid.
Sophie had been sat in that very aisle as she couldn’t see her brother’s performance anywhere else. I nearly lost her in the stampede of manic parents. Good thing I’m quick like a cat and nabbed the back of her coat to pull her out of the mob just in the nick of time. It was close, though.
Don’t get me wrong, I would have loved to get a picture of Lars singing his little heart out — but when I saw the grown adults literally shoving/climbing/all-out pushing past each other down the three-foot-wide aisle, I decided to pass.
I couldn’t risk a shanking now; they were just starting in on Jingle Bell Rock.
It was almost as though the pandemonium of the kindergarten/Grade 1 concert turned some of my fellow parents into raving lunatics.
At one point, a kid made a (let’s face it) mediocre joke on stage. As an adult you do what’s right and give them a chuckle and a clap — that is all that is required. It’s cute; I’d even go as far to say endearing.
What it is not, is hilarious. Especially not so hilarious that you should feel the need to reach over and grasp the shoulder of a complete stranger (this being my husband’s said shoulder) and while red faced begin laughing hysterically and slapping your knee. It is inappropriate to touch an unfamiliar person in the best of circumstances, so this was just plain weird.
I’m not really even sure what everyone was getting so excited about anyways — I couldn’t understand a damn word coming out of the kids’ mouths. Maybe they needed some more microphone training or maybe it was a poor sound system.
Or even more plausibly, I just couldn’t understand them due to my horrible location. In any case, even if the jokes were knee slappin’ funny, I wouldn’t have heard them anyhow.
But still throughout the chaos and blatant confusion, I managed to catch a few glimpses of Lars and from what I did see, he was fantastic.
It was something I wouldn’t have missed for the world.
However, it was also something I would never, ever, in a million fiery years of hell volunteer to do if I absolutely didn’t have to.
Which brings me to my ending statement. Now that I have warned you, please do not get offended when I respectfully decline the next invite to your kids’ Christmas concert.
Because … well, simply because I’m not going to endure that again unless it’s for my own blood brood.
Sorry, not sorry.
Lindsay Brown is a Sylvan Lake mother of two and freelance columnist.