We were seated on the main floor, and as we waited for the show to begin, the kids and I gazed at the dome mural, pondering how anyone could paint up there. Though we had three seats, by the time the lights dimmed, the youngest, Kennedy, was on my lap and the oldest, Michael, was leaning in close.
The Magic began on stage, and for a little while they were both mesmerized by the dancers. Then the questions started.
“Why aren’t they talking?”
“Why is he doing that?”
By the end of the first scene, when Michael asked, “Is it over?” I thought perhaps I had started them too young. I wanted a tradition, something they would always have. A special Christmas memory that would begin before they could remember.
But as the magic of the Nutcracker continued, I became reassured my babies weren’t too little to enjoy the show. Michael started to understand the story, and once the toy soldiers and the mice got into it, he was completely hooked!
Kennedy, though a bit younger, was quite content, and then fell asleep, awakening only briefly when the battle cannon went off, making us all jump with surprise.
Now, many Nutcrackers and A Christmas Carols later, Michael won’t accompany me to the Theatre—it’s just not cool to him—and Kennedy comes only if her busy social calendar allows. But the memory is there, the tradition set forth. And I imagine, in a few years, when they’re both off at college and they come home for the holidays, we’ll pull out the tradition once again. Thanks, Capitol.