This particular event I somewhat dread every year. Don't get me wrong, I love seeing my kids sing (and the other kids are fun to watch too), but it is so crowded in the church that I feel like kicking everyone around me before the show even starts. Parents with video cameras are elbowing each other out of the way for closer seats, some blatantly move people's belongings to take over their seats. This fight for seats really colors the event for me and I always give in and end up in the back rather than fighting this fight that upsets me so much.
Tonight, it seemed even worse than usual as people started pouring in before mass was even over. We were in the middle of a post-mass novena and people were talking as if they were in a sports arena. These are good people who lose a bit of themselves when fighting for territory. It brings us to our most animal state.
I never fought for seats before, especially front row seats, because I can hear just as well in the back and I am more comfortable not having any confrontations. It never occurred to me that the children cared one way or another as long as they knew I was in the building somewhere. Well, I learned something about that tonight.
My friend Brenda, who was front and center, made room for Jay and I to sit next to her and her husband tonight. Technically, the front section of the church is reserved for board members and their families and she is the president. Since I am not officially on the board this year, I didn't attempt to sit in the reserved section, so she made a point of dragging me up there. I felt guilty sitting in literally the best seat in the house and thought about declining. But I didn't, and I moved right up front where I was just a bit self conscious.
All that ended the minute the first Di Silvestri child walked up on the altar stairs and saw me in the front. One after another my four children beamed like the sun when they saw me in the front. And it suddenly occurred to me that sitting in the front wasn't a gift for me at all...it was a gift for my children who have had me miss far too many of their events this year. Why did it not occur to me how much it would mean to them to see me applauding and be close enough to see the love and enthusiasm on my face? Why did I only see this from my own perspective and not from theirs?
Next year, I will camp out to get as close as possible for my kids who love their mom and really don't want anything to happen to her. Sometimes I forget how scared they must be about all that is happening, and if seeing me in the front row at their Christmas concert makes them happy, then by all means I will join the throng of strategizers for good seats.