Christmas Eve is always a relatively crazy day for our family, as most pastor's families can attest. The day usually starts out fairly calm and normal, but by mid-afternoon we're getting ready to head out to the first of three services here in Girdwood.
The first service is the Pageant, which is a 'kid' service. Kids dress up as people in the nativity story and assemble on a little stage in a sort of 'tableau', creating a visual depiction as scripture passages are read and carols are sung. Moriah and Susannah signed up to be readers and we thought Abigail and Bethany might be able to handle being animals for the shepherds to shepherd.
At the initial meeting to pass out costumes, they decided that they'd be donkeys. Abigail was a gray donkey and Bethany was a spotted donkey. I was hopeful at this point that they might go through with it.
The little girls missed the first real rehearsal because they were at Little Bears and it was nap time. I wasn't too worried because I didn't think a rehearsal would make much sense to them anyway.
The only time they were able to practice was 1.5 hours before the actual pageant (and this after a nap that wasn't quite the usual length). Bethany dressed up, walked in and sat on the stage like a champ. Abigail was an entirely different, um, animal. She didn't want her costume on at first, until Moriah got it on her. She did walk in with the shepherds but didn't want to sit at first. Then when she did sit, she made weird blowing sounds with her fingers in her mouth. Yes, at that point I was rethinking her role in the pageant.
Snacks and a video awaited the pageant participants to fill the time until the pageant started, which made me hopeful that Abigail would have time to settle and maybe find a change of heart. *snort* Nope. When it was time to line up, she refused to get her costume on, so I told her she could stay with Mommy. Bethany lined right up with all the other kids, and was fine when I left the room to go find a seat.
My attempts to sit with Abigail were initially successful. Until she saw her big sisters sitting along the window, waiting for their turns to read. Up to Moriah she ran. Followed by me, taking her back to our seat. When Bethany came in with the shepherds, she sat on her spot and was everything Abigail was not (and yes, in my head I was saying "why can't you be more like your sister?" to Abigail). As Abigail tried to leave my lap again, I reminded her the deal was either with Mommy or up on stage.
Of course, she wanted her costume on and she went up on the stage for a moment. Or half a moment. Only after Moriah agreed to sit on the steps on the side of the stage. That didn't last long and even caused Bethany to give up her 'perfect child' status momentarily when she ran off stage toward Susannah. Bethany got back in place, Abigail departed for good.
That's when I tried to get Abigail to sit back with me. ha. Further attempts to get Abigail to stay seated were met with disdain and then outright defiance. And some small screams. And some louder screams. And with Mommy grabbing her up and walking out (and muttering under her breath and giving strained smiles to those folks I knew who were giving me sympathetic smiles). And with some more screams in the hallway.
It was lovely. Knowing my kid was the disruptive one. The Pastor's Kid making such a ruckus. And know what else? Through all the herculean efforts to control my willful child, I was wearing a new sweater. A nice warm sweater in fact. Not the wisest wardrobe choice for the evening. Especially because I knew in my heart of hearts that this probably wouldn't go smoothly. Should have trusted my instincts and waited until next year.
Here are a couple of photos of our donkeys.