I sat through 2 nativity plays yesterday (Thurs 15th). Some would say I got off lightly, because I’d been planning on 3 nativities and 2 ballet shows. (But I got the day wrong on the ballet shows and The Boss went to the 6pm showing instead while I fed The Hungry Ones).
I managed Maxi Minx’s play with just a chin wobble because she was a very beautiful angel in the far background. I cracked a little when she and her P1 class went for an exuberant skip around the church pews to the last big number by the senior pupils, but pretty much held it together. Midi was also an angel in her nursery nativity and had to say, “Come and see the special baby in Bethlehem” hand in hand with another angel. That was fairly ok – well-practiced stiff upper lip firmly on display. But the sight of Midi innocently boogying down to “The angels… had a parrrrrrdee” (party) with her little tinsel halo on wonky made me dissolve. I cried and cried. Luckily Mini was sat on my lap and chose that moment to smile winsomely at me and rub her little nose on my wet, drippy one; I cried yet more but hid it on her.
At the morning nativity, one wee girl (maybe 10 or 11?) had a starring role, and went to do the first big solo. Her beautiful voice soared, pure and delicate, making all the parents gasp. I guess the pressure of ranks and row upon row of grown-ups from floor to ceiling all smiling at her was too much, and the poor wee thing had to walk off and have a big cry on her teacher. She rallied by the end of the play and did her solo again, absolutely perfectly. Well, I don’t think there was a dry eye in the church, twice over!
Luckily I’d pre-warned the minxes that if Mummy cried at them, it was A Good Thing and meant they were doing just great. But what is it about nativities that makes us cry? I have a wee theory…
Now, I lost my first pregnancy, probably due to unwittingly (!) drinking incredible amounts of coffee one weekend in Paris, and as a result read far, far too much literature, opinion and conjecture in the hope of safeguarding subsequent pregnancies. (It worked in a sense – I have 3 lovely minxes, but reading all that earnest gumf – some true, some just scaremongering lazy reporting – scared me senseless along the way).
Anyway, one of the pamphlets I read whilst expecting Maxi explained that a woman’s brain’s hard-wiring changes due to those pesky pregnancy hormones. At the time I read it, I’d have believed anything if it had a reassuring photo of a midwife on the cover, so I can’t say now if it was actually from a credible source. Though I do recall sobbing my heart out in ASDA at 8 months pregnant because I’d found a baby towel in the most beautiful shade of yellow I’d ever seen. So maybe that’s true for pregnancy.
I looked round me at all the other sniffing mums in the church and later the classroom, and thought about us: in the 2 crowds were some tough ladies: ones who’d sacked people without getting in a fluster; ladies who’d suffered the most horrific births with nary more than a bit of gas and a paracetamol; ladies who’d run back-to-back marathons; ones who’d lost parents, ones who’d lost children; ladies who’d coped with all the physical and mental pain that life can generally throw at you and come out snarling and fighting. And we were all bubbling away like little girls. Were we crying because it’s socially allowed at nativities? Or was that theory about the brain hard-wiring change true? But if the latter, then that must mean it’s a permanent change…?
Oh crap, don’t invite me round for coffee if you’ve got a yellow towel hanging in your bathroom!!