Cincinnati Ballet

The Nutcracker

I was 6 years old, the first time I saw The Nutcracker. I still have the program from the Cincinnati Ballet Company—I pull it out every Christmas. And I can I still remember the wonderment I felt when Mother Ginger lifted her enormous skirt and a dozen children danced out of it. So I don’t know who was more excited—Sophie or I—when my mom wondered if we would like to see The Nutcracker with her this year.

We saw a different version, de la Dance Company’s The Nutcracker Jazzed Up! My mom knew the mom of Clara—subsequently, Sophie got to meet Clara after the performance, which she was shy about but I think she loved.

Our entire family got hit with a stomach bug a couple days before this event. At one point I was in the bathroom getting sick, Andy was holding a towel up for James who was getting sick and Owen started getting sick. The whole idea of throwing up terrified Owen so much that he started running, while getting sick, around our living room and entry. When we finally got him to stop running he finished, all over Tucker. I.t w.a.s h.o.r.r.i.b.l.e. We pulled a crib mattress down into the living room so the kids could try to sleep in between getting sick episodes. All night long it was laundry, baths, tears, repeat, repeat, repeat.

I’ve since learned many friends have gone through something similar—some over the holidays. I’m so sorry.

I was worried we were going to have to cancel The Nutcracker. But Sophie was 100 percent better in less than 24 hours. I took longer to feel better, but rallied, knowing the importance of the event, and went.

I’m so glad I did. I spent as much time watching her as I watched the performance. Re-experiencing things for the first time, through your children, is one of the better aspects of mothering.

Since The Nutcracker Sophie has flipped through my childhood program from the ballet almost every day. She hums music from it often and whenever she hears it on the radio she says, “The Nutcracker!”

I’m pretty sure Andy was only humoring me the few times we’ve been to the ballet. Perhaps, now, I’ve found a new ballet partner.

Thanks, Mom, for a great gift.

“We should consider every day lost in which we don’t dance.” —Nietzsche