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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Day In A Manger

I've been longing to shine the spotlight on Big Brother especially since his tummy problem on a bus and dazed stare in the airplane photo are so far his only mentions here.  I felt sure today was his day when I had the opportunity to chaperone his class field trip to our cathedral where he would be a shepherd in the nativity play.  This, I thought, is Big Brother's great blog debut.  Here is where he'll burst onto the scene with Yuletide fanfare.  He was wonderful, made me proud, and seemed to love every moment.  Gone apparently is my shy little boy who wouldn't have wanted this big role.  Gone, too is the rambunctious toddler who kept running out of the church while our preschool director honored Biggest Brother by casting him in the coveted role of nativity sheep circa 2005.

Big Brother (and his sweet 5 other shepherd friends) were asked by the man playing Joseph to RUN down the cathedral aisle as part of an exciting telling of the Christmas story.  What could be better than running in church in front of hundreds of people?

Well, what if I told you there would be a live donkey in the nativity scene who would walk all the way up the aisle, take part in the play and walk back while we sang a carol dedicated to him?  Even better, right? A real live donkey I say!

What if I told you what that donkey did at the back of the cathedral before the shepherds were cued to sprint toward Mary and Joseph?

Unbeknownst to me what was happening, at that moment I heard said donkey make a VERY loud donkey noise (You are thinking the word is "braying" but I promise you that would be way too gentile a description) and noticed a shepherd holding her nose and looking horrified. Honestly, I thought they were playing a VERY loud donkey noise on the PA system for effect and thought it was a bit much. Apparently not.

So if you are a 7 year old boy and you have a starring role in a nativity play, get to RUN down a cathedral aisle, and take 2 of your beloved London buses with 29 of your best pals on a great field trip, the biggest takeaway from the day will be that a donkey pooped "IN CHURCH!"  You will reenact it for your giggly siblings all evening.  Your hopelessly immature mother will laugh the loudest.

I have to say here that I hold a very firm line against potty talk outside our house which is sometimes why we nearly fall down laughing when Baby Sister, newly educated in how everything works, makes anatomical announcements on buses.  Our children haven't seen many kids movies because I reject the crude humor. But make no mistake, this is a line I draw with my very own grey fat fuzzy pen.

Despite nearly ten years OJT, I am still not nearly mature enough for my job.  Don't even get me started on the day the boys talked the ENTIRE way home about their research projects on Uranus.  (I can assure you that they are neither wise nor naughty enough to know what I was thinking nor are they clever enough to cover it up if they were.)  That walk was excruciating.  They endlessly debated how big Uranus is, what Uranus looks like, whether there are rings around Uranus, and whether Uranus got bumped and is now always on its side.  I had to maintain a straight face and appear on the edge of my seat with interest (and not about to dissolve into giggles) over the latest yer anus nuance.  It can be so tough my job.  No one knows the tribulations...

Anyhow, back to the donkey.  Despite hearing some of what was happening from the pews (oh, gracious! I swear I did not mean to make that pun), it was made all the sillier by Big Brother's retelling at home.  I don't know who laughed harder.  Tears running down my face asking him to "tell it again.  Please.  Just once more!"

Rest assured that I mean this as no sacrilege. And I'm not just saying that because I filled out Baby Sister's Nursery application today and dropped it off for our priest's approval, or because Big Brother is preparing to make his First Holy Communion.  Hopefully God knows that we are enjoying many happy and wholesome preparations for Christmas.  I also believe God made little boys to be delightfully simple and silly, and in their best moments, God helps mothers be just as simple.  God made those Christmas donkeys, too.

And I'd be willing to bet that even Mary would have laughed at whatever tickled Jesus.