Monday, December 14, 2009

Tots, Tears, and Time for Change

I decided to give my new
self-improvement plans
a little test drive
over the weekend.

I attended two very different
Christmas programs.
One at the local grade school-
and one at church.

It's been awhile since
I've set foot in either.
Not because I didn't want
to be there,
but because I've become
lazy and content
in my sweats, slippers,
and my
"What happened to you?" bed head.

My daughter convinced me to
attend the school program.
Two of my grand kids were
performing playing singing
with their class,
and I decided that
in order to follow through
on being a better person,
that my plans should definitely
include being a better NaNa.

We arrived a good half hour early,
only to discover that the
assistant principal was
herding everyone to the cow pasture
about a quarter mile north of the school-
because there was no other room to park.

Apparently every other NaNa,
Aunt, Sister, PaPa, Uncle,
Cousin and neighbor
had decided they would
be better people, too.

(Stupid Awesome people!)

My daughter and I
had to stand in the back of the gym
against the tumbling mats
that smelled like sweaty socks
and basketball rubber.

Luckily I had shed my giant coat
for a lightweight hoodie
because the body heat in that place
was teetering close to 80 degrees-
and then- with my hot flashes
every two minutes or so-
I was baking in the triple digits.

Sweat was pouring in my eyes
the whole time I tried to watch
my grand kids-
as they stood on the stage,
looking like miniature dolls
from so far away.

Originally I thought they were
singing, "Let Us Go",
but later realized it must have been
"Let it Snow."
The Dolby surround sound
was really acting up, I suppose.

So, while we were waiting
for every other class
between Kindergarten and forth grade,
my daughter and I became
fashion police.

Unabashedly, (but silently),
taking on the role of
Stacy and Clinton from TLC-
secretly on a mission to
rid the school of
"  What Not To Wear."

I will be the first to admit
that I am not a fashion diva.
But, come on people!
A calf-length blue jean skirt
with black polka-dot socks
and metallic silver tennis shoes?

A giant cable-knit Christmas sweater
with felt reindeer-
and Rudolph with a light-up nose?

A leopard tank top with a black
push-up bra and white leggings?

Okay- okay-
Here I am- getting way off track!

But I think you get the gist
of my misery...

Yet, in the end-
after an hour of staring into
a sea of heads-
I was hugged for being a good NaNa
and enjoyed hearing my grand kids
full of Christmas joy.

Then, my sister Linda came
for a weekend visit
and our younger sister Tina
invited us to her church
Christmas program.

Linda and I had already
fell into the coffee and fudge groove,
lounging in fleece pants
and sleep socks-
taking ten minute cat naps
between outbursts of
the XBox 360 game
being played in the background.

" know
how we hate to drive after dark",
she told Tina on the phone,
"Besides that, it's raining.
And cold."

But after Tina offered to
come pick us up,
our excuses diminished
into "  this might actually do us
some good"   thoughts.

I kinda liked the way
we all three slipped in the church door
and crept up the balcony
before any heavy hand-shaking
or bible verse recitation could catch us.

once the program began,
my heart began to warm.

That old crusty layer of
cynicism and scrooginess
melted off like snow.

I actually felt
the Christmas spirit
stir within me
and I was happy that
I was there-
in God's house.

I just hope He knew I was there, too.
(Doesn't hurt to have those
extra points, you know).

My brother-in-law-
Brian Fuller-
who happens to be a fabulous
contemporary Christian singer,
sang a solo called,
"  Christmas in Heaven".

Tears rolled down my cheeks
one after another-
as the lump in my throat
rose and fell
and threatened
an all out Sob Fest.

I was thinking of my parents
and my sister Barb,
and Bob.
Hoping that they are all
up there somewhere-
no longer sick or weak
or old or lonely.

I knew at that moment
that my pilgrimage
to be a better person
would be the focus
of my new year.

That I would strive to be
a better wife and mother
and sister and friend.

And child of Christ.

That I would do more good,
pray more prayers,
count more blessings,
and have no fears.

And realize that even
people disguised in black polka dot socks
and metallic tennis shoes-
are striving to be good people, too.

And so my journey goes...