The Christmas pageant – it's a tradition passed down through the ages...one that I'll never forget, but for all of the wrong reasons.
I still remember the year I was an angel in the church Christmas pageant. My only job was to hold my hands in a praying position and stay perfectly still. I can still feel the scratchy tinsel crown on my head, the hot lights beating down on my back and can still hear the sound of my labored breathing as I tried to stay still.
I also remember to pass the time that I dreamed not about Baby Jesus, but about all of the presents I would receive the next morning. That was my first, and last, trip to the altar as an angel.
Last night, my daughters wore their crowns with the same bold glory that I had done thirty-two years ago. My oldest angel picked her nose as she walked down the aisle to the front of the church. My husband and I whispered frantically trying to get her to stop to no avail.
When she got into the choir loft, she rested her hands on her chin and acted like she had never been more bored in her life.
My three-year-old looked dazed and confused as she entered the church to Hark the Herald Angels Sing with a throng of midget angels. They filed in front of the altar adding to the dozens of other children already on stage.
Instead of looking out into the audience, she turned her back to the crowd (mind you she was the only child among the hundred or so participants who did this). She did this, of course, so that she could look at Baby Jesus (a live one!). He was obviously a lot more interesting than the spectators.
I kept trying to get their attention by standing up and waving. My older daughter, the one in the choir loft, looked at me with a scowl as If I were embarrassing her (like picking your nose in church is not embarrassing enough).
My little one finally turned back to the audience and I could tell she was looking for me frantically. Her eyes darted from pew to pew. Like an idiot, I stood up in a crouching position (so as not to block anyone's view) waving my hands frantically in her direction.
Finally, I caught her eye and blew her a kiss. Our eyes locked, she smiled broadly, and blew me a kiss right back.
Perfect angels, maybe not, but at least they're my angels.