The Angel, The Christmas Chicken, The BonBon, and The Sugarplum Fairy

Karen: So what’s this big news, then?
Daisy: [excited] We’ve been given our parts in the nativity play. And I’m the lobster!
Karen: The lobster?
Daisy: Yeah!
Karen: In the nativity play?
Daisy: [beaming] Yeah, *first* lobster.
Karen: There was more than one lobster present at the birth of Jesus?
Daisy: Duh.

The Christmas lobster is one of my favorite parts of the movie, Love Actually. So you can see why I was excited (for real – just call me Daisy) when I discovered that my son, Cael, was cast as one of four Christmas chickens in his preschool Christmas pagaent.

You: There was more than one chicken present at the birth of Jesus?
Me: Duh.

Now, I admit, I suffered momentary disappointment at not having my child cast as the lone Christmas peacock. (That kid was CUTE.) Hey, I’m human. But, in the next minute, I rallied. I overcame. I triumphed, and I learned to count my little chicky blessings. Because who needs to spend her Christmas being dragged down by dreams of peacockery? Not I! Besides, by Cael’s proximity to Mary and to Jesus’ cradle, I can only presume that he was cast as the first chicken.

That’s right. I’m the mama of the first chicken present at the birth of Christ. And this year my kid did NOT spend the entire pagaent flipping off the congregation. We are making progress, y’all!

The Christmas Chicken, and his twin brother, The Christmas Angel

Best. Christmas pageant. Ever. (‘Til next year, of course.)

We also had the privilege to attend our local dance academy’s production of The Nutcracker this year. You guys, I’m warning you now – this post is about to move from amusement at the adorable cute overload of Christmas angels and chickens to sheer disbelief and awe at the grace, poise and beauty of girls becoming women.

You may or may not know about our pseudo-sixth child, Katee. She’s the one that we’ve tried to steal for one thousand years, but her parents refuse to let us have her. (Silly parents, wanting to keep their daughter for themselves. Some people!)

Two minutes ago, our girls were, well, girls

…playing princesses in our back yard.

Fast forward seven years… and I do mean fast forward… and Abby is a tumbling BonBon…

(Nutcracker photos courtesy of Mike McConaughey)

…in same Nutcracker performance where Katee dances brilliantly in the lead role as the Sugarplum Fairy.

(Nutcracker photos courtesy of Mike McConaughey)

There are moments when Abby’s dance and tumbling training frightens me, particularly as she describes attempts to flip herself, sans hands, at terrific speeds across the floor. These are the moments as a mama when I have to make a choice. I can live in fear and teach my kids to do the same, minimizing risk as though I can offer safety in a neat package with a pretty bow. Or I can stand apart from my fear and watch my babies grab at all that life has to offer, knowing that we’re not grasping at certainties, but believing that possibilities are worth the risk.

In other words, I live my mama life with my heart in my throat, and I somehow manage to cheer, “GO FOR IT!” past the lump.

There are no words that can adequately describe what it’s like to watch this baby girl…,

after years of hard work, hurtle herself across a stage…

…attempt a stunning aerial…

… and land it beautifully.

I was breathless.

You know what?

I have a funny feeling I’ve already received my very best Christmas presents. To watch my Christmas chicken, my Christmas angel, and my Nutcracker bonbon perform with joy while I sit with gratitude in the audiences holding hands with my two other brave kiddos who take risks everyday to overcome more challenges than most of us will face in a lifetime… to watch fear flee exposed to the light of grace… this is Christmas.

Merry Christmas to you and yours,


A BIG HUGE thank you to Mike McConaughey for capturing the Nutcracker so brilliantly and for letting me use his shots.

Also, stay tuned tomorrow, Christmas Eve! I have a few secret resources who have inside information on Santa’s flight path. With their help, I’ll let you in on some of Santa’s behind-the-scenes flight navigation.

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8 responses to “The Angel, The Christmas Chicken, The BonBon, and The Sugarplum Fairy”

  1. You’re a ballet mom? Me, too! I’ve so enjoyed browsing your blog…it’s always nice to find someone else w/ the same irreverent sense of humor as my own. Beautiful soul, beautiful family…wishing you nothing but love, peace, and blessings in the new year. -Stephanie

  2. Beautiful Beth. Beautiful pictures, beautiful children.

    Beautiful words, “In other words, I live my mama life with my heart in my throat, and I somehow manage to cheer, “GO FOR IT!” past the lump.””

    I’m going to quote you on that someday. Gorgeous post. Thanks for sharing.

    Merry Christmas to you!

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