Creative Dance Center’s Nutcracker in a Shell is an abbreviated, updated take on the classic and a festive community event. The performances raise funds for CDC’s non-profit IPAYouth, an organization dedicated to supporting dance education. With only ten rehearsals, over sixty dancers and one dress rehearsal the dancers have to be ready to perform. It is a lot of work, a lot of waiting, a lot of coordination and a lot of details. And it is a lot more than just a performance.
My Oliver. My last born. My easiest and most challenging, my most confident and most doubtful. You haven’t needed me as much, parting easily, not lingering or hanging on my words. Yet sometimes you need me so much, too much, more than I can give in a minute or a day. Let me spread it out over your day, your year, your lifetime. But to you a lifetime is inconsequential, it is urgent today. It demands all of you and therefore it should, and needs, to demand all of me. So much swirling and twisting and tumbling and twirling. Your thoughts dance and leap and make big and overwhelming movements, never settling. You wish for puberty so your body can grow but your mind is already racing ahead.
You are the class clown. You are a natural leader. In some moments you are entirely free and wild and others you are trapped.
I don’t know what comes next and I don’t know that I will be the answer but keep telling me all the things that fill you, good and bad, and I will be my best as often as I can.
I’ve asked you to stay small so I can carry and cradle you, my baby. Your answer is always “Yes, mommy”, with a giggle. But for your 11th birthday I hope your wish for growth comes true. Take up your space, keep demanding my attention, grow in all directions. I will simply have to grow stronger so I can keep carrying you, my baby.
The kids are getting older. Cousins have gone off to college. Neighbors have moved. High school, middle school, new friends, old friends, hectic schedules, competing priorities. It is a lot harder to gather my kids let alone gather with family and friends. But despite it all, for another year, our Halloween traditions continue.
There is nothing more poetic, more spontaneous and more memorable than a first. They create an indelible mark on our very fabric. And there is nothing more prescient about a first than their inability to be replicated. And there’s the sting.
Until you have a child…
I wrote this 7 years ago for Lucas’ 7th birthday. Now he’s 14 and I’m excited for him to experience his first Homecoming as I am flooded with memories of my own. The dressing up, the dinner out, the dancing, the independence and the friends. This is his first, not mine, and these are his memories to make. But boy is it fun going along for the ride!