With four year-old twins, I have embraced the saying “expect the unexpected” and taken the challenge one step farther and come to live by the motto, “adapt to the unexpected.”
The unexpected uncovers, bit-by-bit, who my children are becoming. The unexpected teaches me to grow and adapt just as my kids do. The unexpected is an opportunity for me to teach my kids by example, and last night, I learned, for them to teach me by example.
Last night, I sat in the audience with fellow parents, grandparents, and other superfans of our pre-schoolers as they entertained us with an hour long holiday program complete with song, choreographed dance, and utter, unparalleled adorableness.
We oohed and aaahed and laughed heartily in delight, smartphones in hand, snapping away, waving emphatically at our hearts standing bravely on that bright stage, staring right back at us.
They sang and swayed to songs about Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, the first Indian tribes, and Christmas. They sang in French, in Spanish, with sign language.
I beamed as my four year-old daughter courageously stood in front of the microphone, stage center, held the menorah, and belted out her duet about the eight days of Hanukkah and the star of David.
I giggled and smiled from ear-to-ear as my four year-old son starred as Mr. Turkey in the hit song, “Hello Mr. Turkey.”
These preschoolers. They nailed it. We were a room of overjoyed, over emphatic, over proud parents to say the least.
After the performance, complete with standing ovation, I hurried up the stage to hug my amazing four year-olds. My daughter glowed and smiled that win-you-over-a-million-times smile she has trademarked. She swayed from side to side, the sequins on her dress shimmering under the lights.
My son broke into a huge grin when he saw me, but he appeared slightly pale, slightly run down. I went to embrace my sweet, tired Mr. Turkey and shower him with my mom pride. He stuck out his right sleeve. It was covered in vomit. He pointed down at the ground where he had been standing for the duration of the performance, and there it was. A big pile of (I won’t use any descriptors) vomit.
I came to learn that thirty seconds before the curtains opened on this adorable class of preschoolers, my sweet boy had released the substantial contents of his stomach (he’s not a light eater, let’s put it that way) onto the top bleachers, right where he was standing. He then wiped his mouth with his crisp white button down shirt sleeve, and proceeded through his well-rehearsed one hour performance about the seven days of Kwanzaa, lighting the menorah, jingle bell rock, signing “rainbow” and “friends”, and fearlessly leading the other preschoolers while holding a full tail of turkey feathers in his feature debut in “Hello Mr. Turkey.”
I had watched him, at times with a slight tilt of the head, wondering why he looked slightly tired and slightly pale.
My four year-old, feeling miserable, literally standing in a pile of his own vomit, had kept on keeping on. Unfazed. Unmoved by his own stomach contents. He had adapted to the unexpected and literally sang and danced around it, over it, and on top of it.
My Mr. Turkey, at four years old, had shown me perseverance and the ultimate adapting to the unexpected by example. Keep on keeping on. And you can nail it too–feathers in hand, waddle to your walk, vomit on your sleeve and under your boots. Truly, whatever it may be.