I adore the Nutcracker. Last year, I wrote about there was something about taking my little girl that made me weepy. This year, she understood a bit more of the story. Of course, this year, I read a book in which the little girl's name is Marie, and the company we saw used Clara. I have no idea why I didn't just continue with Marie (it's not like they talk or like Ellie can read the program) but it took her a moment to get over the name change. She loved Drosselmeyer and this morning when I shared that information with Matt, she said "He ANGRY!" Ellie imitated all the dancers when she got home, spinning around our living room in her little tutu.
She loved the second act especially, with the Russian dancers and the bakers. She did not enjoy the Waltz of the Flowers, and that number was accompanied by the sounds of quiet snores.
After the Nutcracker, Christina came over to build our annual gingerbread house. Instead of one house this year, Ellie picked a small village. It worked out well, since Ellie got one little house and the grown ups each got two. When Christina came in, Ellie sprinted out of the kitchen where she was "helping" me toward the front door, yelling "Christina's here! Christina's here!" Christina was not allowed to sit more than two inches away from Ellie throughout the evening.
As Ellie gets older and participates more, I find myself getting teary as we celebrate things that are a normal part of childhood to me - seeing a ballet, building a gingerbread house, singing about Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Although the fresh days of Ellie's diagnosis are long past now, I am in contact daily with new mamas, waiting to see if life will ever be "normal." I remember wondering how normal my life would be. I just found a Lego car in the middle of the Advent wreath. A little girl just told me to stay on the couch, because she's going upstairs to get Daddy and request pancakes.
Last week, I got a big reminder that life is short. In the midst of a busy Advent, I'm going to try to stop and soak in every moment.