The Nutcracker

Monday, December 5, 2011


Saturday was a brilliant, child-free evening of dining with friends and watching my man rock out at The Cove. A mere 4 1/2 hours after my head hit the pillow, I was off to collect the children from my wonderful parents and endure lashing rains and thrashing children at Pump It Up!, a large warehouse of bouncy houses and slides, zero coffee, and (hopefully) vats of disinfectant.

So I was rather beat and reluctant to head back out into the elements. But I couldn't resist the opportunity to take Harlow to her first ballet.

The book, First Ballet, has been in steady rotation since we bought it for her a year ago, and it was pretty thrilling for me to take her into a space that looks almost exactly like the drawings in the book. Memphis may be lacking in many respects, but you cannot beat a more grandiose, cinematic experience than watching a performance at The Orpheum. It wasn't her first time inside those fabled walls, but it was her first Nutcracker.

She curled up in my lap and clapped and oohed and ahhed, lifting her arms to the sky to mirror the ballerinas on stage and softly singing along with the children's chorus spotlit in the balcony. Every now and again she would spontaneously hug me so hard I thought my heart might explode from gratitude. I constantly fought back tears, remembering how powerful my first trip to the Orpheum was. I sat in the balcony with my mother, afraid that I might tumble off the edge and fall into the vast galley below, but the fear quickly ebbed as Yul Brynner took to the stage as the King of Siam in the King and I.

I hope that one day when she is older, she will hear Tchaikovsky's music and think of falling snow, sugarplum fairies, and her mascara-smudged mother buying her a souvenir.



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