It was the usual swish and rustle of best dresses and uncomfortable ties as the students of Katie’s elementary school prepared for their annual Christmas musical program. We delivered Katie at her classroom door, pressed and punctual, in time to take a class portrait with our digital camera before we hurried away to find seats for the performance.
Katie was beautiful in her black and white checked dress with the little roses around the waist, and shimmering (unbeknownst to us) with the excitement of a carefully hidden surprise.
After last year’s program, we weren’t expecting anything beyond the joy of seeing our little star standing up on stage with her class and sparkling under the lights. Even that was a sweet victory. Imagine the thrill we felt when the music came up and our girl was not only doing all the motions, but was belting out each song loud and clear with the rest of her class!
We snapped picture after picture. And just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, Katie stepped forward to help introduce one of the songs!
Child #1: Why don’t any Christmas songs mention the tenth reindeer?
Child #2: The tenth reindeer? Which one is that?
Child #3: Olive, of course.
Child #4: I’ve never heard of Olive before.
Katie: Yeah, you know: (singing) “Olive, the other reindeer, used to laugh and call him names!”
As the audience laughed their approval, Katie was grinning from ear to ear, clearly pleased with her perfect comedic timing. No punchline was ever delivered with greater panache. Paul and I were giggling and squeezing out tears at the same time. I know now what it means when they say your heart “swells” with pride. Mine felt a bit too big to fit in my chest at that moment, and it was a little hard to breathe past the lump in my throat.
After the show, she was still beaming, wanting to know what we thought of her surprise. I looked my beautiful, special child in the eyes and told her the truth–that she took my breath away!