Metal chairs fill the gymnasium floor. Handmade paintings, decorations, and ornaments line the walls and stage. Lights and additional risers have been brought out. Programs are all printed on festive colored paper.
‘Tis the season for holiday programs.
The kids practice for weeks upon weeks; learning dances, songs, and lines; they help create their costumes and patiently sit there while everyone practices and perfects their performances. Hours are spent from the music teachers and staff, from the principal to the custodians. Everyone puts time into the program.
Butterflies fill children’s stomachs as they prepare for hundreds of eyes to be placed on them. Sometimes they forget their lines momentarily; sometimes they have troubles standing still, but they always are happy to share what they have learned with you.
My Emma had her holiday program last night at our grade school and she was so excited to share what she had learned with us. She wanted everything to be perfect - she picked out a new dress and shoes, made sure she showered right before and asked to have her hair curled and if she could wear some big girl perfume.
Every year we have some guests come to watch the kids perform, family; friends, a small group of people who mean a lot to our family.
This year no one came.
My heart ached for my daughter. I went home and cried. Of course Wayne and I were there, but how could no one else see that this was more than just a holiday performance? She didn’t say anything to me about not having anyone else show up - but I know that she remembers years past when her sister performed and we all took up a row of seats.
It seems like often times people forget how special these moments are; how much work is placed into them. Even if it’s a silly program or not your favorite thing to do - the kids notice. They can see if you don’t show up or if you are there and preoccupied with something else.
Kids remember these moments.
Next time you are invited to a program, be honored that the child wanted to share their moment with you – and that they wanted to show you what they’ve accomplished. During the holidays, the best present you could ever give a child isn’t toys or things, but your time and attention.
After her performance we took the kids out for ice cream to celebrate, as it also happened to be the last basketball game of the season for Anika.
‘Tis the season to make happy memories my friends.