I've always loved the Nutcracker Ballet. I've been to see the Pacific Northwest Ballet's production of the Nutcracker several times, and it is so wonderful. The music is beautiful, and the expressiveness of the story played out in dance so lovely. The sets and costumes were designed by the amazing Maurice Sendak (of Where the Wild Things Are fame), giving the entire production an air of whimsy and magic that I have always loved.
Since we began having children, we've talked about how great it would be to take them to see the Nutcracker someday. My husband loves it too (and I feel ridiculously lucky to have a husband who enjoys the ballet), so it was something we've looked forward to for a long time.
Today we took all three of our kids to see it and it was just as magical as I'd hoped it would be.
My boys sat on the edges of their seats as the mice fought the toy soldiers. The cannon shot took them both by surprise. The giant mouse king was fascinating as ever and even they gasped a little when they saw the Nutcracker had changed into a prince. My daughter loved the character Clara, both as a girl and as the "ballet princess," as she called her. The ooh'ed and the snowflake dancers, and ahh'd at the sugar plumb fairies.
It was such a treat to sit with my kids and share something with them that I hold dear - and it actually played out as well as it could have. You know how it is with kids and expectations; they have a way of crushing your tightly held dreams with their chaotic reality. Yes, we had a couple stressful moments (that bell ringing to warn you intermission is winding down while you're still in the bathroom with a five year old who insists on taking 10 minutes to go "big potty" can definitely make the blood pressure rise a bit). But overall, they were so well behaved, they watched with rapt attention, and loved it.
We wound down the day by having dinner and dessert backwards (courtesy of my three year old who needed a potty stop and the closest bathroom happened to be at a Dairy Queen), and later watched Charlie Brown Christmas snuggled on the couch together.
Life with kids isn't all fun and games, but sometimes things fall into place just how you imagined. Today was one of those magical days.