join the dark side and together we’ll get more presents…..

Merry Christmas Eve! Tonight the four of us (Adam, Diana, me, Mom) ventured to the Seattle Center for the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s “Nutty” Nutcracker. The last show on Christmas Eve (4 PM) is traditionally off-kilter with all sorts of improvisation, scene changes and cheesiness. It was a good show for Adam’s sake because the night was much looser than usual, with a lot of guffawing and hee-haws.  Just before intermission there was a snowstorm (yes, a snowstorm!) on the main floor and we got caught in the thick of it, piles and piles of shredded paper in our hair and on our laps and on the floor all around us, children shrieking with delight in the dark.  Just when you thought it would end, a few solitary pieces ominously floated down and yet another deluge followed from the catwalk high above. We splurged this year and got seats right of the orchestra, I’ve never been that close to the stage and it was striking to hear the slap-tapping of the dancers’ feet throughout the performance. I was proud of Adam, he was attentive through the entire two hour show, though he got pretty antsy here and there. We  read the story of the Nutcracker nearly every day this week (I found a good Golden book) so he would understand major parts of the story. We might have to go to the Nutty Nutcracker again next year, he’ll be five years old but I’m not sure he could make it through an entire regular performance without getting a little wacky.

When I was growing up, for several years all by herself my Mom dragged us to the Nutcracker ballet (six of us kids). She has horror stories of what was basically the last complete year of the tradition, when I rebelled and my younger brother joined me in lockstep (“if he doesn’t have to go, neither do I!”). I only vaguely remember that year because I think I was either an eighth grader or freshman in high school but my Mom winces when she retells the story, it’s not the fondest memory for her. We were poor and the tickets were a terrible waste of money down the drain (I never went again). It’s hard for her to believe I have nothing but fond memories of those nights up high in the nosebleed seats (through the binoculars I admired the beautiful brown-haired girl who was one grade below me and was one of the fairies in the Land of Sweets- she mysteriously disappeared from our junior high one year to attend private school) but they really are some of the most vivid childhood holiday memories I have.

Adam got to open two presents tonight. One was a box of Legos from Aunt Tonni. The floodgates have been opened, he’s officially a Lego nerd! By the way, there is in fact a story behind the Darth Claus picture: In the Nutty Nutcracker, the Mouse King and Nutcracker battled each other with light sabers…….

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