Having twins can be the most amazing experience of your life. It can also cause you to wake up in the morning wishing you were someone else. Twinning offers an honest depiction of life with twins from a mom who tries to keep things somewhere in the middle.
Years ago I watched a South Park holiday special about the school pageant getting stripped of all meaning in an attempt to be politically correct. They start out with a festive Christmas play and the adults strip away everything that offends anyone in the town, from Santa to blinking lights. The kids end up dressed in grey and chanting unintelligibly on stage while minimalist music plays in the background. I didn’t think too much about the cartoon’s statement on society back then, but now that I have two children in public school, I can see how impossible it would be to have a holiday pageant without offending someone. But all the same, I still miss the annual Christmas play.
I went to Catholic school, where the Christmas play was something you did every year. It was a huge production and I can’t imagine childhood Christmases without them. There were plenty of years that the play wasn’t religious—I remember being in plays about misunderstood reindeer, an elf who couldn’t spell, and one about finding the perfect holiday card. So despite being forewarned by South Park, I was surprised when my twins didn’t have a holiday play last year in kindergarten at their public school.
Instead they had a Holiday Music Show, singing songs about Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. They were all dressed up and filed onto the stage in the auditorium and sang. It was a nice little non-offensive holiday thing I guess, but it’s nothing compared to a bunch of kids dressed like shepherds and kings forgetting their lines and falling into the curtain. Or a little 5-year-old who recites her lines so perfectly she has half the audience crying by the end of the play.
So when I saw the Christmas pageant flyer at the church we belong to, I got excited that my twins might be in an actual nativity play this year! Visions of angels and shepherds danced in my head. Of course they still do nativity plays at church! (If I went more, I might have known that.) We’ve never attended Christmas masses at our church because every year we travel upstate to celebrate Christmas with my parents. But this year, my parents are coming to us, so the church pageant was an option. By the time I realized this though, we had made plans on two of the four Sundays the kids were supposed to be in rehearsal.
So the best I can do is bring the kids to church on Christmas Eve to watch the pageant, so they’ll at least be able to see what I’m talking about. They won’t be able to see all the fun of costume fittings and rehearsal, or experience the bonding that goes along with group stage fright. But if they enjoy the play and want to participate next year, I’d happily keep our December Sundays free.
This year in first grade, my twins are doing another Holiday Music Show at their school. The songs are from the same politically correct set of faiths. We’re allowed to invite relatives, but I don’t think I’m going to—it’s just not that interesting, and even the dress code says “Bah Humbug.” The flyer sent home says that students should wear “dark pants or skirts and a white top.” It’s not that far removed from South Park grey. I guess I should feel lucky that my kids are allowed to sing actual songs—next year they might be chanting.