I consider myself a mother who encourages, even nurtures, her children's creativity. Lately this has meant moments of exercising self-control as my preschooler marches about the house wearing nothing but a blue plastic bucket (printed with Easter bunnies, no less) on his head, and carrying his Dan'l Boone rifle, pretending to be a "hero". Don't know many heroes like that, but maybe I need to find myself one...
On Sunday afternoon, another opportunity arose for our ever-forward child to act in our church's annual pagent, held Christmas Eve. Having participated in, corroborated on, and wrangled for, the annual Christmas play wherever it is, usually is fairly simple and straightforward, requiring no less imagination than that required to imagine Mary, Joseph, and a Donkey trudging toward Bethlehem to have the baby in a barn. Unless, apparently, my son is involved.
Bless our new church, they have come up with a creative way to include children and embrace their individuality all at the same time, tough to do when twenty or so little ragamuffins, hyped up on Christmas, are running amok around the front of a church. But they do it. Every kid was tasked with deciding what animal he or she would like to be in front of the manger scene. In the past there have been dinosaurs, elephants, but I think the regulars were all there last year, chewing cud and bleating appropriately.
I thought this could be the perfect chance to infuse some Alaskana into the usual farm critter tableau. Sitting with Bear at the kitchen table after we got home, we ran through the animals that he could be. Brown Bear? Um, no. Too mean. Moose? Mommy, there were no mooses at the manger. Polar Bear? Phshaw, even meaner.
What would you like to be, Bear?
A skunk he will be. But there were some very clear boundaries laid for the evening, promising swift and terrible punishment if there is so much as a whiff of skunk-ishness coming from the altar during the play.