GOT my running shoes on. Got that hungry look of a champion in waiting that says “get in my way lady and I will shatter you like a glass Christmas tree bauble plunging to earth from the heady height of the top branch”.
I’ve been eyeing up the opposition – fairly unimpressive and a bit mumsy like me – and am deciding whether to barge straight through or be a bit sneakier and duck and weave with only limited need for physical abuse. Ironic, really, given that the school Nativity play message is so focused on peace and love, because there are few events – sports day is the other – more likely to engage the parental “search and destroy” function than sitting at the back staring at some grandad’s baldy patch while your little darling does something cute somewhere up front.
I’ve seen mums almost at blows, raging over the last front row seat, and furious arguments in the queue outside as parents jostle and elbow and keep spaces for each other.
In fact, the tension starts weeks earlier with playground spats over why so-and-so got the main role again, who has the most lines, the best costume, the cutest song. At home there’s the night before crisis of learning you, not the school, are meant to supply full shepherd’s costume. All for a ten-second slot in which your child does little more than walk past the cradle, bow and pick their nose. Other than the admittedly tear-jerking version of Silent Night, the average Nativity can be a bit, well, boring.
It’s not just me. Research from Officebroker.com says more than one in ten dads would only go to their child’s Nativity play if they were in a star role as Mary or Jesus. One admitted: “When you’ve seen one, you have seen them all.”
Of course I couldn’t stay away; after all, this could be the year my son actually gets to talk. So I have a cunning plan to ensure I don’t miss a bit of anything worth watching. While everyone runs for the front, I’m aiming for the back, to watch everything unfold from every angle through dozens of camera phone screens held aloft by parents. And it’s there, perhaps most importantly, that no-one can see you yawn.