It was Leah's school birthday a while ago - and quite a build up to an event I did not even know existed until I joined Waldorf. Leah was getting more wriggly and restless and excited as the big day approached. I assumed it was the prospect of a pink chocolate cake (yes, it's possible - ask me!)with loads of smarties and jellytots that got her all hyped - little did I know!
A school birthday, I was told, is when each child receives a little gift from her classmates - self made of course or "found" (during the last 3 terms with about a birthday a week, we diligently crafted away for the first two birthdays, and then came to heavily rely on the "found" part, which stretched to found in cupboards, drawers and even found amongst our very own toys).
So now it was our turn to present the cake and carry home the golden basket of self made or found little treasures. I dutifully dropped child and cake off at the normal time and was told to come back at 11:45 for a little birthday celebration. In my mind that was the collecting of gifts, cutting of the cake, some candles and a song or two and then home.
Imagine my surprise when I arrived at 11:48 slightly out of breath (not because I was expecting the Cake Cutter to drop at 11:45 sharp but because I am German and it is genetically impossible for me to be late ) to a candle lit circle of little people all gathered around an altar with a fairy land display of angels and beautifully colored silk scarves next to a golden throne where my birthday princess was seated in a golden gown with a golden crown between her two birthday angels also in golden gowns but with slightly smaller golden crowns - so as to not upset the birthday hierarchy!
No cake in sight I might add as this was devoured at snack time (I found out later). I felt sligthly deceived and a little apprehensive of a birthday celebration without the birthday cake, which I had hand baked (ok, I confess: woolies chocolate cake mixture) and decorated with much enthusiasm so it would be the shining center piece of the event with me receiving much praise from the teacher of course.
These phantasies of mine were shattered as I was ushered with only a hint of a reproach from the teachers kindly eyes (for being late !!!) to a little chair just outside the circle and left to watch in awe as the ceremony unfolded.
My golden vision of a daughter floated passed me, led by her birthday angels along her birthday land to rest on her throne - and myohmy what a queenly walk it was! Not even a glance in my direction of course and all cool, queenly, 6-year old composure. As the first tear started to creep into my left eye, there might have been the hint of a small knowing smile on her candle lit face but that could have just been a trick of the light.
So there she was walking to little bells ringing and little voices singing (something or another about a little child being born) and I was amazed at the mere logistics of it all: 20 preschool kids beautifully coordinated and not a note or a tinkle out of place (they had clearly done this before!). Then the teacher started to jump into action and the floodgates truly opened. This, my dears is the story (get the tissues)
There was once a little star, her name was Lah and she was living with her star friends in the house at the end of the rainbow. When it was time for her to be born, her guardian angel came to her and said: Leah, it is time for you to begin your journey down to earth and your journey is going to be different as it will be an extra long one. You are not only going to have one mummy, you are going to have three mummies waiting for you(insert gasps of envy from the audience here- and add to it my slight feeling of doom as Leah had specifically asked me NOT to bring up her adoption - but I needn't have worried - her little face glowed with pride as her classmates listened in awe to her special story).
And the little star Leah said: but I am worried! What if I miss all my star friends and my home at the end of the rainbow?
And the guardian angel said to her: Don't worry , when your journey on this earth is finished, you will come back to the house at the end of the rainbow where all your star friends will be waiting for you.(insert: suppressed sobbing noise from the little chair outside the circle)
Then the guardian angel went to Leah's tummy mummy ("whats her name" - voice from the audience. "Shhhht QUIET, doesn't matter" - hiss from the teacher)
AND THE GUARDIAN ANGEL went to Leah's tummy mummy and he said to her: A little child will be born to you. Leah's tummy mummy said:" this is so beautiful, I will love and protect her while she is in my tummy but I am too young to look after a child and I will need help.
Then the guardian angel went to Leah's kangaroo mummy and said: a little child will be born and you shall look after her for a little while. And Leah's kangaroo mummy was so happy and excited and was looking forward to holding Leah in her arms.
Then the guardian angel went to Leah's real mummy and dad and told them that Leah would finally come home to them. Leah's mummy and dad were so happy and overjoyed at the good news: Oh we can't wait for Leah to come to us, they cried!
And then Leah started her journey onto this earth -
At this point the teacher took the little angel from the altar and started walking her along the silk scarves. I am a little unclear on the correct order of what happened next as I was a mess of streaming tears and barely suppressed hiccup-sobs trying desperately to hold it all together and not to embarrass my princess in front of her whole class - so this is what I remember of the rest of the ceremony:
Leah (the little puppet angel in the teachers hands) went passed the blue star (or red or orange or golden or yellow or green....) and the star gave her the gift of grace (or strength or beauty of kindness or music...). Each silk scarf represented another star in all the colors of the rainbow and each star gave Leah a gift.
Finally Leah arrived on earth and was born to Amelia, who held her in her arms for a short while and loved her. And then her Kangaroo mummy held Leah in her arms for a little while longer and loved her so much. And then it was time for Leah to come into her real mummie's arms and her mum and dad were so happy that she was finally home with them and that they could be a family!
The story still went on with the teacher recounting little details of each year of Leah's life - which I had written down for her (obviously not knowing what she needed them for - and why did I not ask???) and a candle was lit for each of her years. At the end all the children sang some more and Leah was walked by her birthday angels out of the circle. Suddenly I became aware of Alan sitting beside me and the noise of 20 odd chairs being moved and little people running around ....
and Leah coming towards me with her basket of gifts, cool as a cucumber, asking in a matter of fact voice : so, did you see it, mama?
I somehow pushed passed her and grabbed the teacher in a big wet clinging hug - which she gracefully reciprocated for a couple of seconds after which she gently disentangled herself from my hot grasp and turned me towards my daughter (who was of course rolling her eyes at me and asking, can we go now mama?)
So that was it: I am hooked now. A waldorf disciple like you have never seen before. Ready to knit or sew or stitch whatever anybody throws at me for the next 11 years of my life and then some (if Kala decides to join that is).
And to imagie we'll get to do it all again next year ! Only this time I will be prepared (no mascara and a handbag full of tissues).
Happy Holidays everyone!!
I don't believe in miracles - I rely on them
I don't believe in miracles - I rely on them
You found my blog and as I am experimenting with the weird and wonderful world of cyber publishing, let me explain what a gunna is: it's a word for all things desirable, something that makes us happy and warm and comforts us when we feel tired or sad or lonely. a gunna is the best gadget in the world! it was leah s first word for all things she wanted. Or you might also know it as: dummy, schnulli, pacifier binky, schnuller...... and so on. So this is for my beautiful