During the benediction at church on Monday Julia was standing in front of me making faces at the little girl turned around in the pew ahead of us. The pastor began his prayer and I whispered to Julia, “Tilt your head.” She tilted her head back far enough to make eye contact with me. I looked at her and said, “The other way.”
Julia turned her head to the left.
“Julia, look at your tummy,” I said.
Her head dropped and she looked down. “Why do we have to do this?” she spat.
I didn’t answer; it wasn’t a good time for a conversation. I was just thankful that despite plenty of squirming she was being good. She occupied herself by writing her name in the Christmas program and circling key passages that she would point out to me and then nod her head as if she had discovered a cipher.
Allie and her mom doodled trees, Santa heads, candy canes, etc. in their programs.
I realize it sounds as if we weren’t paying attention but that’s not the case.
I sang. Deb sang. She sounds better plus she knows all the words. Allie tried to sing. She asked me to point out the words in her program so she could make an attempt. I’d hear her blurt out a word here and there. It was more than Julia did. I looked over at Glenn. His lips were moving, but I didn’t hear anything coming out. He was singing even if he wasn’t singing. I looked down the row to see if the rest of the family was singing. I couldn’t tell. It didn’t matter. The vibe was there. It was the night before Christmas and as Julia squirmed and Allie blurted; while Debbie doodled and Glenn lip-synced we all felt it and it was good.
Julia asked, “What are we doing after this?
“We go home and eat ham,” I said. I pointed in her program and said, “See, it says right here to stop singing, go home and eat ham."
She can’t read.
I hope she looks for that line in next year’s program.