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That Christmas Cheer

Katiedid Langrock on

One of my favorite lines in the film "Love Actually" comes when Emma Thompson's character's children return from school and tell her the roles they were given in the school play. Her daughter proudly announces that she was awarded the role of first lobster, to which Emma Thompson's character replies, "There was more than one lobster present at the birth of Jesus?" The daughter responds, "Duh."

Last night, my family and I attended the Christmas parade that marched merrily and vibrantly through downtown. And not only did our parade have second lobsters but we had a swarm of them -- many of whom were playing the sousaphone. There were floats featuring rock-'n'-roll singers belting out tunes while pretending to wipe their bums in hyper-voltage outhouses. There were Muppets and mermaids and dancing candy cane jellyfish. And of course, we saw a fair number of Christmas trees. Children zigzagged through the crowd standing on the sidewalk along the parade path, handing out candy canes to children younger than they. My children squealed, high on our shoulders, high on sugar, waving all the higher at the passing firetrucks and Christmas clowns and, naturally, camels dressed as stegosauruses wearing Santa hats.

But we almost missed all of it.

Icy rain was falling as I picked up the kids from school and day care later than usual because of sudden work deadlines. They were cranky in the car. I asked them how their school days were. In unison, I heard "bad!" Righto.

I blasted the Christmas tunes. The baby cried louder: "No, Mama. No singing. Bad singing." I changed the conversation to the Christmas parade. We still wanted to go, right? Isn't this going to be fun? My kindergartener gave a halfhearted "yeah." My baby said, "Mama! No singing! Never singing!"

I called my husband and asked him to meet us downtown. He was worried about parking, so he requested that we drive all the way back to the house to pick him up before returning to town for the parade.

Righto. Christmas cheer pumping through my blood, I turned the car around.

My husband slid into the car with a loud sigh. Work had pummeled him, the same way it had me, the way it had the kids.

As we drove back toward town, the soundtrack of Rudolph's bout of bullying in the background, my husband turned to the tired kids and asked, "How are you all?"

The baby screamed, "Mama bad singing!"

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