Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Silent Night

Before the last of the Christmas decorations are stored, while those tiny white bulbs are still sited in my neighbor's yard, and while thoughts of Christmas still linger in my head, I will tell the tale of Silent Night. Now, in most families the mention of Silent Night conjures up happy thoughts of Christmas, a beautiful church filled with candles, a song sweetly sung. Not in the Labanowsky household. Those two simple words puts one in a heightened state of awareness and sends that prickly feeling up your spine that goes into to your head and alerts you to "Danger ahead". Why, it was only several months ago, that I was calling churches asking "Do you sing Silent Night on Christmas Eve". When we heard that the church we normally attend was singing Silent Night in the beginning of the service, it was unanimous....sure disaster. So, this year we chose the contemporary church with hopes we might "rock" to Silent Night". Upon entering the church, with new hopes for a good Christmas Eve experience, Mike noticed the candle in my, the eternal optimist that this would be the year we would do Silent Night, and he said.."Mom we are not doing this" which if interpreted meant..."Mom, what don't you get about Silent Night???" Once again, the heightened awareness began as we awaited the first sign of the lighting of the candles, we kept our belongings in hand, and mentally found the nearest exit. This year we were ready for a quick escape. Actually, the good news, this year we did get out rather smoothly!
So, what elicits the Flight or Fight feeling when one knows that Silent Night will be occurring. Well, it all began many years ago, when Peter would play his CD of Christmas songs well into July. We were the only family in the neighborhood, loudly playing Jingle Bells on the Fourth of July. You know, it is that Christmas year around feeling. Peter's favorite was Silent Night, and if it was dark, he would turn off all the lights and invite you to sing along. You would think that on Christmas Eve this was his favorite song, after all, he sang it everyday, and several times a day with the lights off.
Several years ago, maybe five..eight..I have lost count, on Christmas eve, we went to church, sang Silent Night, the service ended and as I was leaving and wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, Sara ran back into church and literally grab my arm, pleading for a quick exit. I found this rather strange, as Sara was always second in command and could change Peter's behavior rather easily if needed. So, listening to her pleas, I left, only to find Peter closing the big iron gate on the parishioners, and trust me, he was not wishing them a Merry Christmas....his words included ##**XX..words I will not write, but words he had emulated from another parent who set less than quality standards. We rushed him along, trying hard to quiet him down, Peter not willing to let go of his feelings was hurried into the car. At that point, we did not realize that was the beginning of the end to Silent Night and a quiet Christmas Eve service.
The following year, now quite believing that Silent Night would again cause such an uproar, I took him to the children's service. We discussed that at the end of the service the children would sing Silent Night. Peter reassured me he would be fine and he would sit quietly during the song. and than it happened. The candles were lit, he jumped up, swearing loudly, ran out of church and, yes slammed that heavy door as loud as he could during that song. That night, pouring my self a large glass of wine, we sat and discussed Silent Night and all he could say was that he just could not handled. And whatever he could not handled, unearthed some really bad behavior that brought Peter to tears mixed with anger, and a bit of door slamming.
Again, being the eternal optimist, and after all, another year had past, I truly believed this was the year Peter was over Silent Night. Life had settled down at my house, less trauma and drama, so I was totally convinced this was the year we would make it through Silent Night. I even incorporated the help of the ministers, one who actually came back to the church entrance, to give Peter reassuring looks and provide moral support . We made it through the first verse. Then came the second verse, and Peter decided he had enough! His goal now would be to turn UP the lights in the in the darkened candle-lit church. The pastor spent the next two verses dodging Peter and keeping his back on the light switch while I tried to convince Peter to leave. And we did...of course, with the heavy door slam and a large mental note to myself...give it up Diane.
So, if you asked Sara or Mike about Silent Night, you will receive a wide eyed look of terror that only belongs to one who lives with Peter Labanowsky. During this years service, the minister mentioned that we would be singing Silent Night, and all of us turned with that "Oh No, he said the word!!". Peter who was reverently bowing his head, looked up and said, Silent Night...stupid silent night....and we left. That was our cue, as if we had practiced our escape, we were out of there in seconds. Running as fast as we could before those lights were turned down and the candles were lit. Counting our blessings that would were no heavy oak doors to slam.
If anyone who knows of a Silent Nightless church on Christmas Eve...please let me know. My children will eternally be grateful!!

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