The Prompt – Nativity


When I was 6 years old, the school (the same school my daughter attends now, in fact) didn’t do a nativity for Christmas. Instead they decided to do a weird thing with elves and pixies. There may have been a Mary or Joseph at some point, but I don’t remember them.

What I do remember is having a huge part in this play. I had to sing a song! I was confident I could do it. I knew the words. I still remember them, 20+ years later. I still remember that it was in the key of G. If I stand still long enough, I can still see the piano and the hall full of people. I can still feel the abject terror in my chest before the tears came and I crumbled, making it impossible to sing, or stand there even. All because my mother was in the audience.

I was terrified I would let her down and instead of taking that chance, I bowed out shamefully. Thing was, that wasn’t the only time I behaved that way. I still have those moments and I still haven’t found a sensible way to break through the terror. When I was 18 and at college, it became so bad I would refuse to play solos in brass band, preferring to hide in the toilets, because obviously they wouldn’t find me there.

I always think my daughter is very much like me. Sometimes too much. She cries when she gets frustrated. She’s upset by imperfection. She’s a talented girl – she’s got perfect pitch and she’s full of grace (I have neither of these things). Like many parents, I went to see her in the nativity this week where she played Mary.

Mary! Shit. If I’d ever been given Mary I would have crapped myself on the stage, vomited over the audience, then run off sobbing and howling.

I was prepared for the dreaded moment as soon as she spotted me. I’d even thought about how I would curb the feelings of guilt and disappointment that come with failure through fear.

She is not me.

My little girl was fantastic. Not nervous, she acted brilliantly, swayed the audience, didn’t forget her lines. Best Mary I’ve ever bloody seen.

I am so proud of her. And I want to be proud of me, too. I’ve helped shape this confidence in her.


The fear holding me back needs to go somewhere else. I’m sick of being the grumpy camel.

I’m going to be Mary in my own nativity and I’m going to be great!

Written for The Prompt


29 thoughts on “The Prompt – Nativity

  1. “Mary! Shit. If I’d ever been given Mary I would have crapped myself on the stage, vomited over the audience, then run off sobbing and howling.”
    You could have said it was part of the birthing process..the audience would have been amazed at how realistic it was lol
    Glad your daughter did well. πŸ™‚

  2. Well done to you daughter! You’re right to be proud of her, and of yourself too. I think it’s so easy as parents to blame ourselves for all sorts of things that ‘go wrong’ in our kids lives without remembering to pat ourselves on the back for the part we play in helping them to become fantastic little people. Go you with being your own Mary! xx

    1. Thank you. I’m so pleased that she doesn’t seem to have my hang-ups. I don’t want to put that on her.
      Yep, I’m gonna deliver a very cool, calm and collected performance of life in general…
      Or something. Xx

  3. Oh well done your girl, she sounds like an amazing little lady hon.

    I hope you all have yourselves a wonderful Xmas and that 2015 truly is your year, the year that the fear finally does one. It’s been great getting to know you, and perhaps we could even meet in real life at some point soon? Lots of love xxx

    1. Thank you. She’s so awesome. This year has been pretty fabulous. I’d love to meet IRL – I went to Britmums this year and and debating going again. Might chance it if other people are going. If not, we’ll have to arrange some kind of whatimwriting meet up because we need a chat over some tea. ;-).
      Merry Christmas. Xxx

          1. I can’t believe you were at Britmums and I didn’t meet you… thinking of going again this year, if I can justify journey, I have a ticket…! I expect a FaceTime/Skype/Hangout invitation to any tea drinking πŸ™‚

    1. I always feel like my heart is gping to burst (in a good way) when they do something amazing. I love their individuality – sometimes I forget that they’re themselves as well as little pieces of me. X

  4. Sometimes you worry that some of your own traits will show up in your children and it is great when they achieve things that you know you would struggle with yourselves. Go on, be Mary in 2015. You can do it.

    1. Yes, I really worry that they will end up having to battle depression and it’ll be a case of “blame the mother”. I’m so proud of her and her ability to just get on with things. She’s not afraid of being different or standing out and she asks for what she wants. I hope she can hold on to those traits.
      Got a few days of being a donkey left yet πŸ˜‰ x

  5. You will be Mary and you will be fabulous!
    Well done to your daughter, it’s wonderful when they surprise us like this isn’t it, too easy to transfer our own insecurities on to them, when really, they don’t have them. Have a wonderful Christmas Chrissie, thank you for sharing with #ThePrompt and for all the support this year x

    1. Thank you for running #theprompt and inspiring us all!
      I’m very quickly learning that kids don’t have insecurities and there’s a lot to take from this. I would effectively like to live like a 5 year old next year haha.
      Hope you have a great Christmas and enjoy the break! Xx

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