Thursday, December 15, 2011


Not My Kids.

There's two parts to any Christmas Concert:
  1. The part where your child is on stage, preforming like a Broadway Star, and your heart swells with pride to the extent that you just might pop a button and accidentally take out that kid in the first row.
  2. any other moment in the entire concert, where you have no interest whatsoever in what's going on and waterboarding would seem like a pleasant alternative.

My first Xmas concert, (or Non-Denominational singing joygasm) was about 4 years ago. I braved the snarled mess of parking on the school grounds to witness the big debut. My plan was simple - since the Boy was in Kindergarten, his class would be preforming first and I figured I'd let him do the song and dance, sneak out of the auditorium afterwards, and grab him from his class. With any luck, I'd still make it home in time to catch the third period of the Hockey game. Win win, right?


Looking back, I realize how naive I was.

If I was brilliant enough to come up with this plan, others had been as well. If you have tons of parents trying to leave right after their little bundle of joy has lit up the stage, you're going to have a logjam of people in the auditorium and the hallways, scrambling for their kids and cars.

The school has solved this in a most ingenious and evil way. Each child preforms twice.

They preform with their class, of course, but after all the classes are done, the entire student body sings one last Christmas Carol - then, and only then are you permitted to exit.

Did I mention the Concerts are usually two hours long?

Not My Hand. (Or camera.)

No one told me about this.

Not one parent, not one teacher, not even my sister who has kids at the same damn school - no one said a thing. I'm in my seat and see all these people sitting down around me. Every single one of them has a travel mug of coffee or whatever in their hand. When I jokingly ask if they are preparing for an overnight stay, they inform me that they bring it every year since the wait can be so long. One glance at my puzzled visage told them everything they needed to know.

Them: "Little one in Kindergarten, eh?"
Me: "Yup - I'm lucky he's first on - I get to bolt right after - I feel bad for those Grade Six parents who have to suffer through the whole thing."
Them: "Oh - you don't know, do you?"
Me: "Know what?"

They then explained the deal to me - the programme layout, the Carol at the end, my inability to leave. It wasn't too bad, really - I could enjoy a little bit of Christmas spirit and really, what's a couple of hours? It was only 30 seconds later when I realized that, unlike everyone else, I didn't have a coffee or other beverage to enjoy. (If you're familiar with my love of the caffeinated nectar, you'd understand why this would be an issue.) No problem, I thought, I'll just make a quick run to Timmy's for a coffee and I'll be right ba-
My Emotion. (But still not me.)

Then the lights dimmed.

What followed was two of the most boring hours of my life - broken only by the excitement of seeing my son on stage. He was like a beacon of excellence amid the mediocrity of the other kids. (Except for that spoiled brat who had the fuzzy reindeer-horns headband - what's wrong with construction paper like the rest of the class, Princess? Huh?) Let's just say that the lack of coffee only exacerbated the situation.

I've never made the same mistake again. When concert time comes I'm ready with a mug full of coffee and the mental preparedness to outlast whatever feel-good schlock the music teacher is chucking at us this year.

And unlike those before me, I pass along what I've learned. Just the other day I overheard another Dad talking about his concert-night plans as we were picking up the kids. He was thinking he was going to have time after his child's song to go and finish off some Christmas shopping.

"Excuse me" I said, tapping him on the shoulder, "First kid in Kindergarten, right?"
"You bet." He replied.
I shook my head. "I've got some bad news for you, my friend..."

Lets just say he didn't take it as well as I did.


1 comment:

  1. I KNEW what the two parts were before I finished your first graph. I'm laughing so hard, that I will have to finish the post tomorrow. That is, I'll finish it AFTER I go to the SECOND of my little darlings' concerts and sit... and sit.... and sit... through all of the parts that don't involve my kids.

    Fortunately, I knit, so I pass the time productively.

    Hysterical, Man.