I'm tired. They're tired. Tired makes us teary and short-tempered. Teary and short-tempered makes us no fun to be around.
Why do we do it?
I love that my family spends every single night together for three weeks. Sure, we're with 450+ other people, but those 450+ other people become our family. I love making these memories together. Eating too many treats and too much fast food. Snuggling sleeping kids to my chest as the night cools.
I love that my children have to sacrifice to participate. They don't do it with a smile every night, but they learn what commitment means. It means a shortened Spring Break vacation. It means missing the final heats of the Pinewood Derby. It means wearing sandals that hurt your feet after an hour or so. It means coming home early from friends' houses to get on a boy costume that is delicately described as a "manly dress."
I love that my children make friends of all ages from all over the valley. Adults. Kids. Even the sheep in the pens and Sarah the donkey are part of their pageant experience. Years from now when paths cross, memories will be searched and the connection will finally be made--"That's right! We were in the Easter Pageant together!"
Most of all, I love that my children learn the story of their Savior, Jesus Christ. The messages in scripture are repeated night after night, and before long each child can recite (with the soundtrack's inflection) bits and pieces of scripture, embedding them in their memories and hearts. They participate in portraying miracles. They look forward to the scene reserved just for the children of the pageant. They see the soldiers and the lashes and the crown of thorns. They see the stone rolled away and hear Him call to Mary. And then they add their voices to 450+ others that they know He lives.
It's worth an entire case of Cheese-Its and the dirty car and and the late nights. It's worth whatever it takes for these three weeks. It's priceless.