I cried yesterday - or at least I almost did. My eyes started to get that burning feeling when tears threaten to fall from the ducts. I managed to keep the water works from breaking loose, but it was hard. Honestly the whole "my kid growing up" thing has never really bugged me all that much. Yes, sure, they get bigger but the 'next' stage always seems so much fun and exciting that I don't miss the past one that much. I relish each new development my child (now children) has broached without mourning the ones they move beyond. But yesterday afternoon I almost cried over it.
Our church begins its 'formal' Sunday School classes at 2 years old. The toddler/preschool class of 2-3 year olds are supposed to eat snacks, read a story together and do associated craft projects. Mostly its play time with some art work tossed in. Sometimes they read a story. Sometimes they bring their stories home.
The last four weeks they've been learning a song. Logan had learned the words but he refused to sing it for us. I knew he knew the lyrics because after he told you he couldn't sing it, he'd whisper it quietly to himself - too softly for me to pick up what he was saying, but loud enough that I knew it was a song. He'd get in the car each Sunday morning and announce that the man played the piano and the red lady sang. His job, he'd say, was to sit still and be quiet.
Yesterday was his chance to do "his job" - which really did entail him looking adorable, singing and doing a few hand motions and gestures with a paper candle someone had made for the little ones to hold. Yesterday was the Church School Christmas program. We gathered in the sanctuary at 4pm - Miss Megan perched upon my lap thinking she could actually read the music and lyrics in the hymnal. We had left Logan playing in a classroom with his classmates and teacher - clad in his brand new, bit-too-big-for-him, green t-shirt that all program participants were to wear.
Megan, being her usual "can't stand not be up and swaying" self, demanded I move to the side wall and dance with her as the program got underway. This just meant I had a great vantage point to see my boy coming down the hall with his classmates. He, who has come to look so big to me of late, looked so small when lined up next to the five year-olds (all classes 2yr old through K were entering at the end of the program for the "grand finale.") They marched up the center aisle to the music. Logan spied his father and grandfather with the cameras and paused proudly to say "CHEESE!" and as such, held up the line for a moment. He followed his teacher's direction and got himself lined up on the risers in just the right spot.
It took me a moment to find him up there in his place. I'd have thought the red-hair would be akin to those balls people put upon car antenae to aid location - but no. When you're 3 feet tall its easy to get lost amongst the bigger folk. When I did spy him, however, I felt that burning eye thing. There he was, my first born, my baby, sort of all-grown-up. Well ok, not all, but he certainly wasn't just my toddler any more. Here he was, a 'big' kid doing big kid things. He did remain true to his oath to not sing. He smiled instead - looking out at the crowd with his happy little face. He did move his candle back and forth as he was supposed to - taking his cue from the bigger kids around him. And, the little ham that he is, he did clap proudly for himself and his peers as the audience erupted into applause.
He stepped down the risers as he was supposed to and fell inline with the other kids. He once again held up the flow of traffic to pose for another photo and then he waved his goodbye as he followed Miss Shannon back to his classroom.
Just one year ago this child of mine refused to stay for a mere moment anywhere an adult belonging to him (aka parent or grandparent) was not. I spent countless Sunday's listening to the sermon via an earpiece in the nursery. Just one year ago he'd cling to my leg or ask to be held as he buried his head in my shoulder instead of facing a crowd of strange faces. Yet there he was walking away with a wave and a smile. There he was waggling around his toilet paper roll and tissue paper candle proudly. My little boy acting the role of little man suddenly.
He'd tell me later that he had fun. He'd retell how he pulled on his teachers arm and said "Please, Please, can we go?"
"Go where?" I asked him, wondering if I had seen him walking in holding her hand because he hadn't want to come in to the program.
"Go into the big people church. I wanted to come sing but Miss Shannon said it wasn't time yet." replied my ham.
Apparently he's moved a bit beyond the shy phase too. . .