The week before Christmas I found myself in line with my two sons and 20 other procrastinators on the post office’s busiest day of the year – the last day to ensure cards and gifts would arrive at loved one’s mailboxes prior to Christmas.
While we waited my five year old, Josiah, began singing The Little Drummer Boy. Typically, whenever Josiah sings he crescendos into a sound that one might consider similar to the screech of a dial-up modem. I was torn between feeling a little self-conscious and not wanting to disturb those around us, with enjoying his zeal for the Christmas season and letting that shine through in his singing.
As his singing became more audible, I could see the smiles on the faces of those around us. It was almost like he too, could sense their smiles upon him as his voice began to rise. At that point I leaned down and kindly told him to quiet down and not be so loud. The mistake I made was that being a little self-conscious and aware that everyone was looking at us, I giggled as I corrected him. This caused Josiah to sing louder. Trying to look serious, by raising my eyebrows and pointing my finger at him, while attempting to hide the smirk on my face, I asked him again to please quiet down. He smiled and sang louder.
I suddenly heard a barking noise behind me and turned to see that it was the Grinch-like postal worker calling us over to the counter. Apparently she was annoyed that I wasn’t paying better attention when there were 2000 people in line behind us (Did I say 20 earlier? I meant 2000. And maybe, just maybe, if they put more people on staff on the busiest day of the postal year so there were more than, say, two lines open at any given time, she wouldn’t be so grinchy).
I dragged the boys and our Santa bag of gifts over to Grinchy as Josiah continued singing at a, thankfully, lower level. A lady in line behind us shook her head with a smile, and pehaps, a tear in her eye, and said so that all could hear, “his singing is the best thing we can hear in this place.” You could have turned off all the lights in the post office at that point and worked by the light of the mother’s pride emitted from every pore of my body. As I was reaching to pat myself on the back, Josiah began to hum the words to The Little Drummer Boy again. My heart melted as I gazed upon my sweet child.
Then my seven-year-old, Sheehan, began to say loudly, “Josiah, STOP singing! I don’t like your singing. It’s STINKY!” and tried to hit him. My eyes grew wide. I bent down to Sheehan and asked him to be quiet and to be kind to his brother and to please, just let him sing. With a scowl on his face, he replied, “But his singing is stinky!” I thought, well, at least one of my kids is still a saint.
In spite of Sheehan’s protests, Josiah continued singing merrily and came to the rum-pum-pum-pum part of the song. But instead of singing rum-pum-pum-pum, he sang, “I-crap-in-my-pants!” I didn’t even turn around to see what that woman’s expression was. I paid Grinchy and dragged the boys and the empty Santa bag out the door with my proud mommy tail dragging between my legs.
I can always count on my kids to keep my pride in check. I think that’s their God-given job. Wouldn’t you agree?