Daughter of Mine~ My children are, as they are for most moms, the most important things in my life. I don’t say this as a metaphor, or say it for effect, I am not trying to impress anyone nor did I ever know what hold my children would take on my heart. How could I know that they would reside within me forever; in my womb for but a mere 10 months but in my heart, for all eternity. I had children as do most people as an expression of my love with my husband. I found a man that I loved so much that it could fill a room and I wanted nothing more than to have as much of him as I could in the world. There was nothing I could imagine to be greater than two people who genuinely and completely loved one another, bringing into the world tiny humans that they could share that love with, that they could add to the world to make it that much better of a place. Yet, still I had no idea how these tiny humans would fill my life, my time, my space and my heart.
Still there are some days when I feel the effect of my cup runneth over more than others. Ella was in her 2nd Nutcracker this year and, in theory, I thought it would be a little less overwhelming being that we have done it once already. But it wasn’t. We’ve spent the last month prepping for the production and the last two weekends my daughter has taken the stage as a toy soldier. I could not be prouder of my little ballerina. Last year, she was my perfect little snowflake; a vision of beauty in tulle . She was five and the maturity and enthusiasm with which she commanded her audience was something to behold. Every performance left me with a lump in my throat as well as my heart. I took a million pictures because whenever I wasn’t in the audience, I was sure to be found backstage chaperoning and doing hair for the tiniest of ballerinas. It went by in a flash, much like her fleeting childhood, and I wanted to drink it all in. I didn’t want to miss a second.
This year was a bit different. We are in a new town, a new ballet and Ella had a new part. A part that she was not initially overjoyed to have been chosen to dance. This year she was a toy soldier. Last year was tulle and tiaras, 15 tiny snowflakes cascading across the stage as snow fell and filled the air with the most ethereal beauty. This year was admiral soldier ware, cannons, swords and a battle to the death. Ella is very girly and initially wanted no piece of this part but then she realized that she not only had the privilege of shooting the cannon ( in all its pyrotechnic glory) but she got to hand the sword to the Nutcracker prince in the battle scene. The very sword that would ultimately defeat the arch nemesis of our heroine Clara, the Mouse King. This piqued her interest because as any Mommy of a ballerina knows, every little girl wants to grow up to be Clara. Being in close proximity to the current Clara is like walking hand in hand with a princess; it is being in the presence of tiny ballerina greatness.
I sat, holding my breath, on opening night waiting for my daughter to take the stage. The orchestra swelled Tchaikovsky and my heart almost burst with pride. Chaos broke out on the stage as the battle scene began and the principals took the stage. My mouth was dry, my eyes were moist and then I saw her..amidst all the chaos, my little soldier marching out from stage right. At that moment, the place could have caught on fire. All I could see, through my teary blurred vision, was my little soldier. That same familiar lump in my heart returned and I could not talk or breathe. I could only admire her and think to myself, I am so lucky to be a part of this little girl’s story. My heart burst right there in seat 17. Every move she made, every breath she took, every smile and glance; I could see that she was happy. She was magical and beautiful. I hope to see all of her dreams come true in my lifetime. I watched as she exited stage left and thought to myself, one day I may be lucky enough to have my heart bursts as she dances the Pas de Deux and the cymbals crash. But for the life of me, I can’t imagine that I could ever be any prouder of her than I was at the very moment she took the stage as a little toy soldier.
The production wrapped this afternoon and our holiday celebration has officially started. Sorry, if it seems that I’ve been MIA lately but it’s time consuming work loving on children in the fashion to which I’ve become accustomed to, especially when my heart’s been bursting with love. I am blessed.