Why do we always cry at the school nativity? There is something about the timelessly evocative sight of our children transformed into shepherds and angels by the judicious use of a red-checked tea towel or a ring of tinsel that just tips me over the edge. Part of it is a kind of instant nostalgia – that unattainable desire to hold on to those moments that are over almost before they begin. No wonder we strain so hard to capture them on our phones where they will remain forever for us to summon up, like a genie in a lamp. Part of the heightened emotion comes out of the memories they awaken of nativities past. Like the time I had to wrestle a six-year-old Cleo to the ground to get her into her gold angel’s costume, or the day Jack fought off a temperature to carry out his role as Joseph – the only speaking role the family has ever had! They are also an annual reminder of the people who can’t be there – the relatives who live half a world away and can’t just skive off work to see them on stage – the four grandparents who died before they could see how wonderfully their shepherds and angels have turned out.
I remember one school concert when the choir, which then included a nine-year-old Jack, was singing Bernard Cribbins’ song “Right Said Fred” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5XX9LX2es4) a song I hadn’t heard for years but which took me straight back to childhood watching my dad and uncle puzzling over whatever it was they happened to be fixing or demolishing that particular day and stopping at half hourly intervals for a fag, a cuppa and a think. It’s one of the happiest funniest songs you’ll ever hear and there I was, a mass of tissues and sniffles trying to be brave while Jack and his class, clad in cor-blimey trousers and flat caps belted out, “If we re-move the ‘andles, and the things wot ‘old the candles…”
I’d love to know that I’m not the only one who experiences this. Let me know if you’ve had a tearful nativity moment this year – or a memorable one in the past. Comment below or on our Candis Facebook page or on @candismagazine
Posted by Amanda Blinkhorn