I have a secret cache of dream moments I hope to share with my girls. I’m sure Jax and I will share many great memories together and that he will outshine any expectations I could have had for him, but somehow I don’t think they will involve tutus and leotards. Em had her first dance recital last year and that, although not a roaring success, was one of those long-awaited moments for me. Helping my girl into her costume and waiting for her to come onstage from the audience (which didn’t actually happen) has always been on my list of things I hope to do with my daughter. We are giving ballet another try next month, mostly because Em and I shared a magical evening together earlier this month going to see the ballet Clara’s Dream. That night proved to be even more fabulous than I could have hoped.
She was so excited for days leading up to the big night, and while we were getting ready she sat at my feet, asking for me to put some makeup on her and do her hair just so. She picked out my outfit–literally–insisting that I wear a skirt and rifling through my jewelry box to find me a necklace. She wore her fanciest dress–her Rapunzel costume–and fancy black shoes to match mine. She wore her ballerina necklace and a pink sparkly bow in her hair. Apparently, she has an idea of how nights like these are supposed to go, too.
We went out after it was dark, which in itself was a treat, looking at Christmas lights and listening to holiday music. We went out to dinner at a grown-up restaurant where she was stopped by many other patrons, oohing over her dress and her curls, asking her if this was her first time going to the ballet. She was sweet and shy, excited and quiet. She colored a picture of a Christmas tree and we had three full courses, from caesar salad to tiramisu. I told her about the Rat King and Clara, and how they would meet the Sugar Plum Fairy. Then we walked over to the Lebanon Opera House, holding hands and skipping as we went.
Once inside, Em was so impressed by everything, from the ticket booth to the big stage with the velvet curtains. She had met the Sugar Plum Fairy at the David’s House fundraiser this summer and anxiously awaited all the ballerinas and their beautiful costumes.
She sat literally on the edge of her seat, and whenever her interest would wane, she would lean back against me until the dancers changed and then whisper in my ear what she thought of the new costumes. Her favorites were Clara and the purple flower fairies (as she called them). She made it through the entire show, then asked to go up and touch the stage. Finally, on the way home, she crashed.
Program in hand.
What a night. Exactly as I could have hoped it would be, and at the same time, even better. Tucking the memories of this night away in one of the happiest compartments of my heart.