Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Mary Ashley's Preschool Program

Mary Ashley poses outside the church building, a P3 graduate.

Sunday afternoon we attended Mary Ashley's end-of-the-year preschool program. It was such a joy to watch all the P2 and P3 classes standing on the stage, so big and confident after a year of school. The children recited memory verses and sang songs for the adoring crowd. Mary Ashley had a speaking part, and my heart was in my throat as she took her spot on the risers for the "Humpty-Dumpty" song. Only in recent weeks has she overcome her shyness to recite a memory verse in Bible class, so I wondered how she would react to a packed crowd of parents and grandparents. In rehearsal, teachers said she gripped the microphone so tightly that her fingers started to change color, so they took the microphone into the classroom and let her practice saying her line in that more intimate setting.

When she stepped into place Sunday, I could feel my heart beating as the song began. Please, Lord, give her the confidence to say her line, I prayed. The children began singing, "Humpty-Dumpty sat on a wall./ Humpty-Dumpty had a great fall./ All the king's horses and all the king's men/ Couldn't put Humpty together again ... ." I held my breath as the song played on, every note bringing us closer to her speaking part. Finally, the first soloist took the microphone. "Listen up!" he called. "Up! Up! Up!" His exuberance drew laughter and cheers. As the second soloist took the microphone, I could see Mary Ashley looking wide-eyed into the crowd. "They tried to push him up," the pretty little girl sang out. More cheers, and now the microphone passed to Mary Ashley. Would she do it? Would she say it? She bowed her head, paused-- you can do it, Sweet Girl -- then sang, "Patch him up. Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch." She said her line, complete with the sound effects and hand motions! Then she raised her head, clasped her hands and flashed a bashful smile to the cheering crowd before jumping back into the song.

And in that moment, my sweet little girl grew just a little bit taller right before my eyes.

Hearing the children sing "I'm a Little Teapot" was just my cup of tea!

Mary Ashley singing her heart out.

Crossing the stage to hug her teacher and accept her certificate for completing Preschool 3.

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