And It’s a Wrap

and_its_a_wrapI’m not sure how to put this, exactly, but…we survived our first Nutcracker. Way back in September, when it was still hot and Christmas seemed like a life-time away, Keana auditioned for the Nutcracker. It was her first real ballet audition and low and behold, she got a part as a “little mouse.” This last week was the culmination of many hours of practice, driving, fundraising, and preparation, with four performances in the Central Valley’s Nutcracker.

Sarah helped out behind the scenes throughout the week and I did a couple drop-offs and pick-ups as well. It really was a big time and energy commitment for the whole family, and Aliya and Maia were on the single-parent schedule most of the week. Add to this that we were all sick with a cough/cold, and you have a pretty rough week. Keana was a little nervous, especially not knowing what to expect for dress rehearsals and adjusting to staying up late for the rehearsals and performances. She became good friends with the other three little mice though, so they kept each other entertained backstage. After her final performance today she said that she wished there were more, so I think that’s a good gauge as to how the experience was for her. She’s also excited to audition again, so there you go.

And as I mentioned in my post back in September, first experiences like these for the kids are also learning experiences for us, as parents. It was hard for Sarah and I to know, or even imagine, the amount of stamina and energy that was going to be required to not only get Keana through this thing, but all five of us. We were trying to support and sometimes manage all the kids’ emotions the whole week, and I think some of our own kind of caught us by surprise. With Sarah and Keana gone almost every night and most of the day Saturday, I think there were times that Maia, Aliya, and I felt left out. I also felt overwhelmed holding down the fort with a sick family while Sarah was transporting Keana or helping out backstage. I know it was stressful for Sarah, too, managing that end of things, and coming home to two other “cracked-out” kids and a sick husband that had been off their routines. Oh, and Maia also had a school project due on Monday which didn’t make things any easier.

So there’s all that, and I think it’s important to acknowledge it and learn from it, but then there’s the “why you do it”—that joy and pride when you see your kid try something new, put herself out there, and succeed. Keana’s part was small, sure, but it was easy to imagine this small role as just the beginning of more prominent roles on stage. If nothing else, she grew up a lot this week: going to rehearsals at night, in a big theater, mostly on her own; dealing with hair, makeup, and costumes; staying up late; and going on stage in front of hundreds of people, over and over.

Now that it’s all said and done, Sarah and I are very happy that she was able to have this experience. We really appreciate all the support that family and friends showed by participating in the fundraiser, buying tickets, and coming to see our Little Mouse perform. Even though her role was small, my heart still skipped a beat every time she scurried on stage. I was proud of her today not just for being on stage, but for auditioning back in September, going to every rehearsal, and being open to trying something new and scary. It wasn’t all Christmas cookies and eggnog, but it was a great experience just the same. I think after a few weeks to recover, we may actually be ready to think about auditing again.