Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Traditions

Sunday, at 1:30, I shared a tradition with my middle daughter for the first time.  We went to The Nutcracker.  

Since I can remember, I have attended The Nutcracker annually with my mom.  It was a very special occasion in our home.  I always got to wear my Christmas dress, as we dressed like we were going to a gala.  We wore long fancy coats and shiny patent leather shoes.  We parked in a too dark parking lot and walked frigidly up the street where a glimmering cross walk sign signaled us to cross while drivers waited, knowing just where we were headed.  

She always splurged on the best seats, with the best view possible.  We would sit anxiously in anticipation of the first cord to play and when it did we sat frozen in place watching intently like we had never seen it before.  First-timers we were not, but there is something quite magical about The Nutcracker.  Perhaps it is the dreamer in all of us.  The beauty of the music that the dancers bring to life.  The awe-inspiring sets that someone has meticulously created.  It is truly magical.  

When it was over, we crossed into an adjoining hotel and sat eating desserts and talking about each tiny detail.  What we liked, who had the best costumes, which ballerina had the longest most perfect legs.  Girl stuff.  Mom and daughter stuff.  

This did not change until I moved away from home at 22.  It was then that I had to carry on the tradition.  So, I found and bought tickets in our current city, Las Vegas.  At intermission, Man says, "There is no talking?"  First-timer.  We moved to South Carolina not long after that and I then traveled to my mom's each year for The Nutcracker.  It felt good to have my mom take me, even if I was married and grown up.  For me, that is one of the best things about traditions: you get to feel like a child again and again.  

What a special moment my mom and I shared when we took Olivia to her first Nutcracker performance.  She was 4.  We did it just like when I was young.  I don't think we stopped smiling for days.  Just the look on Olivia's face and the way she sat in awe of the ballerinas.  I will never forget that moment.

So, Addison turned four this year.  It was her turn.  A right of passage was in front of her and she was beyond thrilled.  While we could not make this happen in North Carolina, in the same way we did for Olivia, I did my best.  This is a tradition I feel honored to carry on.  So Mom, I hope I did you proud.  

After traveling an hour to get there, I treated the girls to lunch.  

 Then I drove to the theater and parked a block away, so we could walk the walk.  

 Addison selected her Nutcracker ornament to commemorate her first show, just as you did with Olivia.

 At the close of the show I drove them for ice cream.

 And we talked about every tiny detail.

 I missed you mom.  But as you have expressed to me before...

"Memories are the lightest things to carry with you."  And I have them. And I thank you.

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