The first notes of the overture hung in the air and I gave my date a quick squeeze. A lump formed in my throat. This was one of those moments I had always dreamed about.
I was introducing my son to the Nutcracker.
Before anyone thinks I’m totally nuts for bringing a toddler to a ballet, this was an abbreviated performance called the “Mini-Nut” that is only 45 minutes and specifically tailored to the 2-5 year old set.
Despite an early wake-up, extra travel time factored in and meeting another family, we had to run from the parking garage and arrived in the theater just as the lights were dimmed. My very handsome date sat on my lap and we watched the party scene come to life.
His eyes never left the stage. He was transfixed by the music, the set and the dancing.
He provided a play-by-play that I wish I could have recorded. Evergrowing Christmas trees? That’s magic he can get behind and wants at his house.There weren’t enough mice and he was very concerned about the Rat King’s well-being. If he talks to you, let him know the Rat King just has a bump on his head from Clara’s shoe and he’s just fine. When the Nutcracker transformed into the Prince, he looked at me and said “Mom, who is that boy?” I tried to explain that it was the Nutcracker, but he wasn’t buying it.
He didn’t know why we were clapping, but was happy to join in the rounds of applause.
We walked out of the theater hand-in-hand and I asked him if he liked the show. “Yes, I really liked it.” My heart exploded.
As we drove home, we went over the larger plot points of the show. He knew that the mice scared Clara. The Nutcracker fought the Rat King. Snowflakes and flowers dance. Sugar Plum Fairies are beautiful.
As a former dancer and Nutcracker cast member, who is also the mother of a baby girl, many people have asked me if I’m excited to introduce my daughter to ballet. And the answer is yes, yes I am so excited to introduce her to dance.
But don’t forget about my boy. Introducing him to dance has been one of my greatest joys.
It’s not just for girls.