Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Nutcracker

Dear Em,
My grandmother loved music. She had tons of records & CDs, & a lot of my favorites were the musicals. Except for when she was really excited about new music, she mostly let me pick what we would listen to. We'd put the music on & sit at her kitchen table & talk.

One of the musicals we would listen to was the Nutcracker. Her eyes would light up as she would describe the story line & what it was like to watch the Nutcracker ballet. I loved to listen to her descriptions & imagine what everything looked like. I couldn't wait until I was old enough to go to the ballet with her.

After I graduated college, Daddy & I got grandma tickets for the three of us to go to the Nutcracker in Boston for Christmas. I was so excited. I couldn't wait to share the experience with my grandma.

But then it started snowing the day of the show. It snowed & it snowed & it snowed. I wouldn't give up. I insisted that we drive up to the show anyway. It took us over an hour to travel a distance that would have typically taken us twenty minutes. I knew we weren't going to make it. With tears in my eyes, I called my grandma to tell her that we had tried, but there was too much snow. Your daddy & I left a few days later to celebrate the holidays in North Carolina, & my grandma enjoyed The Nutcracker with my aunts (they were able to use the tickets for a different show).

I'm really glad that she was still able to enjoy the Nutcracker, but I'm a little heart broken that I never got to share the experience with her. So, when we were listening to Christmas music in the car (we sneak it in before Thanksgiving when Daddy isn't in the car) & you exclaimed, "that's the Nutcracker- I know this one," it brought happy tears to my eyes. Your Grandma had found a Nutcracker cartoon to watch, & you excitedly told me about the Pink Ballerina & the Mouse King. I wondered if maybe you were old enough to experience the Nutcracker with me.

Long story short, I don't think you're old enough yet. Ha!

Your best friend, S, & her mommy were going to a smaller scale Nutcracker on Ice production, & they invited us to join them. The two of you watched the skaters warming up with excitement. "I can't wait to see the pink ballerina."

Unfortunately, I purchased the tickets the night before, we weren't able to all sit in the same row. This made you cry. We were packed pretty closely on bleacher style seats, & I could feel my face getting hot as you cried for S. I could see several younger children but my child was the one crying? That was when I first started to wonder if maybe you weren't old enough to enjoy the Nutcracker, but I began to read you the story of The Nutcracker from the program to calm you down.

The first act began, & you did OK. It think it was hard for you to watch a story with no words. It was difficult for you to understand what was going on. You just knew you wanted to see the pink ballerina. It was also hard for you to see, with the people sitting in front of us being much taller than you. I sat you in my lap so your head was a little higher, but it was hard for a squiggly, wiggly little girl. We were in luck that most of the people sitting around us thought that you were adorable. They didn't mind your millions of whispered questions (mostly "where is the pink ballerina?") or when you shouted "go, Clara, go!"

I think we would have been OK had there just been one act. By the second act, you were really having a tough time sitting still & not understanding why people were skating on the ice & not talking. You were crying because you had to sit in my lap rather than being able to dance to the music on your own. When the last skater took a bow, I think we were both ready to go.

The show had started at 4 & went until 6, & even though I had given you a bunch of snacks beforehand, you were starving to death by the end of the show- or at least you made it seem that way. We hadn't made definite dinner plans, & we tried to think of a kid friendly spot with no wait (since you were going to die if you didn't get food right then) that wasn't fast food. We decided to go with a full cultural experience & go to a Chinese buffet.

You mostly ate pineapple & dessert, & I shook my head & wondered what, for the life of me, would have made me think you were ready for The Nutcracker. I smiled & hoped that my grandma was looking down on us & we had been able to share the frustratingly hilarious experience together.

I love you so,

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