This past summer we had a sweet reunion with the Ursuline Sisters in Chatham who graciously and warmly welcomed us for an afternoon into their beautiful home. I was very excited to see them again as was Elizabeth who remembers them fondly. I took time to dress her in an adorable floral summer dress and she asked for her hair in two pigtails which hung on each side of her head. She was very happy to open the gifts they gave her. She pulled out tissue paper and dug through deep bags finding lots of goodies: books, water toys, balls and cars. She thanked them with hugs, kisses and big smiles. In my pride as her mother, I thought that a little song would be nice as a gift back to them. Elizabeth has a lovely voice and knows many songs. We sing all the time together or listen to music. So I suggested,
“Ellie, why don’t you sing a song?”
“I don’t know any songs.” She responded with a sly smile.
“Yes, you do! You know lots of songs. Why don’t you sing All Through the Night?” It is a Welsh lullaby that we sing every night before she goes to sleep and she knows it by heart.
“Mmmm.” She steps over the tissue paper and stands in the middle of us all: Mom, Dad, Emma, Sister Florence, Sister Loretta and Sister Mary Ellen who is also the Mother Superior.
She puts her fist up to her mouth and makes a point of clearing her throat. This gets a laugh so she does it again. And again.
Finally, we believe she is about to sing All Through the Night and take her moment in the spotlight very seriously, but I should have known better – the mother of a 3 and 1/2 year old.
Instead, Elizabeth breaks into a song which nobody has ever heard of nor do we understand how to follow it as it jumps around with the imagination of her young mind. At this point, she turns her back to us and puts her hands on her hips, shaking back and forth, laughing and smiling at us over her shoulder. She says, “Shake your bum! Shake your bum!” And before we know it she spins around to face us with her arms in the air shaking more excitedly while singing, “And don’t forget to shake your vagina! Shake your vagina!”
Matt and I could not stop her fast enough. How this came to be we still do not know. It is part of the mystery of children. An awkward performance for the ages.