Her Voice is the Loudest (in our house, at least)
Just like last year, the theme was all about how wonderful Santa is and how all the little children are waiting breathless for his arrival. At least this year there was a literary tie-in; it was based on The Polar Express. I felt for MG, though, especially at the end where the protagonist has a little speech about how the silver bells will always ring for all who truly believe. Aside from the Jewish thing, RW doesn't believe in encouraging kids to believe in Santa, and so MG has never believed although at times I know she has wanted to, and has wanted Santa to come. She believes in Nisse (still), and the Tooth Fairy (sort of), but, as she said to me somewhat wistfully the other night, "I know Santa can't be real, because if he was, he would come to everyone, right?"
So I felt for her, being inundated with all that singing and dancing and pontificating about Santa and Presents and Sleigh Bells and Belief. Afterwards, when we were home eating our macaroni and cheese and she'd graciously received congratulations and we'd talked about which parts we liked the most, I asked her which was harder for her at school, the stuff about Santa or the stuff about Jesus.
"The Jesus stuff," she said. "But don't tell Rona." (Her very kind, very Catholic after-school caregiver and surrogate grandma.)
I was surprised; I'd been sure she'd say Santa, and that my frothing at the mouth about those religious songs she's singing in choir was just my own baggage.
"You know," I said, "I decided not to make a fuss about you singing those songs about Jesus, because I didn't think you'd like it if I did. Was that right?"
"Yeah," she said.
"Were you worried I might?"
"Yeah!" She looked relieved.
"I also didn't think it would be fair to Mrs. Ito [the choir director], especially since you started in the choir so late in the year. I thought she might be kind of upset if I asked her to change the songs in November."
"Yeah!" MG said. "She'd be going crazy! And then she'd be like, [pompous voice that's not like the fabulous Mrs. Ito at all] 'Children, we have to learn ALL NEW SONGS, because MG is a Jew!'"
She put this lovely fruity funny curlicue on the word "Jew". Then she did a handstand. I cracked up, in amazement as much as anything. I hadn't realized she'd thought the whole thing through with such insight.
"And that would be so much fun for you!" I said. She cracked up.
Then I told her I had been thinking about going to talk (nicely and kindly) with Mrs. Ito in January, and asking if, since they're singing religious songs in choir, they could include a song or two about Hanukkah next year, and would that be okay with her? I was surprised at how enthusiastic she was about that prospect, so I guess I really will do it.
Then she sang me the offending songs, "Away in a Manger" and "Silent Night." I refrained from correcting her pitch.
You know, I think she's old enough now to take part in our annual reading of Grace Paley's "The Loudest Voice."