I WENT to my eighth (or is it ninth?) nativity play last week, to see our beloved third son Billy take on the role of Shepherd 3.
I still love a good nativity. And thankfully our primary school does make the effort to produce a new version of the traditional script each year. There’s usually some rhyming, some cute songs, a role for just about everyone without resorting to sheep or donkeys, and some humour. Yes, humour.
This year, Billy, not usually one to shy away from the limelight, was given four lines which were meant to be comic asides to the audience. I’ll admit, I was nervous.
At home, he seemed quite calm and mostly word-perfect. On the big day, the nerves got to him.
At first he needed prompting, then rushed his lines out, with a dramatic physical flourish as if to make up for the delivery. Almost ‘Ta-da!’ He got the desired laughs.
I’d love to have got a couple of photos of him and his costumed classmates, but thanks to some selfish parents in the middle rows, I didn’t stand a chance.
Despite a gentle reminder by the headmaster before the performance that people should avoid standing up unless they were at the back or sides of the room “to make sure every parent can enjoy seeing their children,” some decided that it was tough luck for anyone behind them because they were going to stand up and take photos or video OF THE WHOLE SHOW.
Everyone forgives anyone who pops up, takes a snap and sits back down again. But several parents just didn’t sit. They watched their child through a blinkin’ viewfinder.
There were mums and dads in rows next to me who simply couldn’t see at all. If they stood up themselves, then another row was blocked. A couple of us who were nativity veterans muttered and even hissed at the rude people to sit. We were ignored.
Well, we thought, we should be able to get pictures at the end. They usually hold the ‘speaking parts’ back to have their moment of glory. Nope. Straight back to class.
I don’t have a single picture of the last nativity Billy will be in. Not a frame. Not even a fuzzy-too-far-away one. Thanks very much you selfish standing-in-the-middle parents, happy Christmas to you too. I hope your children have better manners than you do.