So it turns out that I'm one of those parents who bursts with complete pride at the sight of his child doing anything. And for those of you who don't know what Stagey means, it suggests an excessive or overly theatrical behaviour. For example, "the performance was very stagey" or "the shop assistant scanned the items in a stagey manner".
It is the season for Nativities across the country and my daughter's school is no different. Happily, I was able to attend. My work often keeps me away from events like this around Christmas. The school offered two nativities. One for the infants (ages 4 - 7) and one for the juniors (ages 7 - 11). It was a charming piece of writing called Prickly Hay. The conceit being that the prickly hay was causing distress to a recently born Jesus and the stablehand Sam, who was feeling a bit lousy in his job, changed the hay and saved the day. He was ably aided by a confident shrew who also mentioned how nice new hay was for the animals in the stable. The message being everyone matters in this world. Regardless of your faith stance, I think we can all get behind that message.
Martha is in the infant nativity and her entire class was dressed either as an angel or a shepherd. Year one (the year above her) were smartly dressed singers and year two took the huge responsibility of telling the tale and playing the parts. They all did really well and everyone in that school hall was rightly proud. Or at least I think they were as I became a little tunnel visioned as soon as Martha entered the room.
Catherine and I were seated quite close to the back of the hall. I'd only just got back from work in order to make the curtain. As each class was paraded in, I caught Martha's eye. Not a single bit of fear coming from her whatsoever. She casually followed behind a few of her classmates and took her seat on a bench towards the back of the stage. Fortunately, I could just see her face between the obstacle course of heads. As she walked in, I turned to Cath and said, "let's not wave and distract her. Let's teach her a little bit of stage craft."
Seconds passed and I reneged on that statement. I stood upright and waved like a goon. Martha spotted me and waved straight back. She gave me two thumbs up. I copied. I blew a kiss. She blew one back. I caught it and put it in my pocket. Another thumbs up. I returned to my seat not in the least bit embarrassed. It felt so right to behave that way. Martha needed to know I was there for her. I wanted her to see how proud I was of her and how awesome her attention was. She looked amazing as an angel. I'd share a photo but I haven't consulted the parents of the other unassuming children in the very distant photos I took.
It was an adorable 40 minutes. There was a technical hitch at the top of the show. They just got on with it. The children told the story very well. The singing was done with great gusto and dedication and they all knew all the actions. It's the proud parent talking, so I'm completely biased but Martha was on top of the beat when it came to doing her actions. The choreographers I know would have been impressed.
As Catherine and I walked around to Martha's classroom to collect her after her triumphant second performance of Prickly Hay, (they do three in total. I know right!), Catherine turned to me and said, I thought we weren't going to wave. I replied. "I'm not even sorry".
I have become Stagey Dad.