The Nutcracker

Carl discovered Nutcrackers this Christmas. He saw them in the stores and was interested so we told him about what they are used for. We also explained that they are now decorative only.
While at Powells, I found a little paperback of "The Nutracker" in the discounted children’s book rack, so I threw it in the pile of books and brought it home. I have been reading it every other night now for a few weeks. I am getting a lot out of that dollar!
One of the thing I love about being a mom is getting to see the world again through their eyes. His discovery brings back some fond memories for me.
I remember listening to my parents lp of the nutcracker on our green record player in the basement. I remember a girl in grade school dancing to an oddly cut piece from the ballet – and no one knowing when to clap. I remember going to see the ballet a few times – I saw it in Portland during a rough career time in my very early twenties. While there are some bad memories associated around it, I remember the Mother with the children under her dress lightening up the pressure and darkness around me that year.
A very special memory of the ballet was the year we took Grandma to the Seattle Ballet’s performance for her 90th birthday. I had bought her a beautiful scarf while I was in Paris. I also made her a scrapbook of photos and momentos of some of our trips in recent years. I flew into Portland, since at the time I had to book my ticket, mom was talking about having a party at her home. Mom later thought that maybe a family outing would be better and arranged for the meeting in Seattle and attending the ballet. I completed most of the work on the scrapbook in Denver, and finished up the last little bit at my Dad’s with the help of my step mom.
We gave Grandma her gifts at brunch before the ballet. She was absolutely thrilled with the scrapbook. She went on to finish filling it up with pictures from the party and her cards. We then went to the ballet. Before the performance I wanted to get the group photo with Santa – and the Maurice Sendak style background that they feature in the ballet. Grandma decided we didn’t have time. She made Paul take her to her seat, the rest of us had our photo taken. The thing that sticks in my mind about the performance was the sets. They were amazing. Maurice Sendak (the children’s author) and some engineers at Boeing had designed them. The Christmas tree grew and the waves of water rippled. They brought back fond memores of Mr. Sendak’s work.
As a side note we came to Seattle a day or so after the G7 or G8 can’t remember what it was called that year. Seattle was going through riots and tear gas – questioning if we should take my 90 year grandmother into it. The distubance was cleared up by the weekend.
 So we bought some decorative Nutcrackers this year. There were small ones for the tree and larger ones for the mantel. Carl loved them.
We borrowed an old tape of "The Nutcracker – The Motion Picture." It was Grandma’s and it is a tape of the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s version of the Nutcracker. This is the production we saw in Seattle. There were some expansions that can’t be on stage and the story was a bit darker than I remember. Carl enjoyed it. It took us three nights to watch it as Carl kept falling asleep (we didn’t watch it straight through.) Carl’s favorite dance was "The Peacock." When the movie was over, Carl promptly wanted to watch it again.
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