Sunday, December 15, 2013

Ten Things of Thankful-The Nutcracker Edition.

It is finally Nutcracker week. My favorite week of the whole year. I am thankful for so much when it comes to Nutcracker that ten things is not enough, but these are my top ten:

Dance-This whole journey started in 1999. I took the boys to a community theater kids’ production of Once Upon a Mattress. On the walk home Ase said, “Mom. I want to do that.”

2002 found us moving back to this wilderness. One of the selling points was he could dance here. It took us a little while to find the studio that fit us but in 2004 Ase started tap. Zaney and GirlyK took ballet. That year we attended the studio’s production of The Nutcracker. Most of the Party Scene Boys were played by girls. After the show, Ase looked at me and said,

 “That’s just wrong. Boys need to be played by boys. I need to take ballet.”

That was it. Soccer, baseball, basketball came and went. Their first love was dance. Teasing from other boys within church, school groups and other places didn’t discourage them. It didn’t matter if they didn’t have friends or were accepted. Feeling God’s joy as they used the talents they had was enough.

The Counting Mutant’s Dance Career- began when he realized dance was their sport of choice. If they had chosen football, he would have helped. He co-coached a basketball team and soccer teams. Around Jr. High the boys left everything behind for the sweaty rooms filled with girls. He made the offer, if they needed help with Nutcracker, he would be willing to audition as the Nutcracker. They took him up on the offer. To watch all four of them dance together makes my heart soar. The Mutant is 6’3” which makes his Nutcracker well over 7’. It was the first year GirlyK was not a soldier.


Two Nutcrackers ago,  Ase played the Nutcracker Prince, which was a bit poetic. Nutcracker-Mutant dies and Nutcracker Prince-Ase carries Clara through a land of snow to a land of candy.

This year, Zaney’s dream came true and he plays Mouse King. Years of backyard sword fighting with his brother paid off. Through rehearsals and performances the two of them wordplay Star Wars, Lord Of The Rings and just regular man smack talk as they battle to the death.

GirlyK is in heaven as well. She is tall enough to be a mouse and back in battle scene. This time helping her brother war against her father, talk about a family dynamic.

Family Time- Rehearsals begin in September. Weekends are spent, a few hours here and there working toward this common goal. Even if we not always in the same room or the same time, at some point in time the rehearsal is talked about at the dinner table. We laugh about in the car.

The Music- Our studio has the privilege of dancing to a live symphony. I played violin when I was younger. All of those individual instruments playing their own notes and woven together by a conductor is a most beautiful sound. All those differences working together in unity is the perfect example of how we should all live.

Sewing- My Mom taught me how to sew at the end of high school. Off and on I used it, but never as a fully devoted hobby. One year I noticed the Mouse King’s cape was a little tired. I made a suggestion and for whatever reason they let me make a new one. Soon after came a new Mouse King costume, The Mutant needed a new Nutcracker jacket, a friend taught me how to make a pattern and somehow I made it. Each year tests the limits of my self.

The Nutcracker Jacket- It was the first creative project we had ever done together. The Mutant’s grand ideas and my sensibilities often collided within practicalities. The kids lovingly refer to this year as “The year that tested Mom and Dad’s marriage.” By performance time we spent much of the shows on opposite sides of the stage. But we made it. We are still married and he listens to me. Who knew a Jacket could be therapy?

Nutcracker restored my faith in Christmas-Growing up Christmas was dodgy and unpredictable. With parents in ministry, it often seemed more about the production than reverence and reflection. In my early adulthood it was downright devastating. The days between Thanksgiving and Christmas have a new holiday for me-Nutcracker. It is a time when we can argue, play, laugh, cry, make mistakes, give the silent treatment, sleep and all other kinds of madness yet still be a part of something filled with love and beauty. Each year we finish Sunday’s matinee a little sad, and a little stronger as a family.

Nutcrackers- Other kids have trophies and medals. Mine have a nutcracker based on the roles they have. Written on them is the year and what parts they played-even the understudy.

Understudy- Each person has experienced the understudy. The dancer has to attend all the rehearsals, learn the part just in case the person cast cannot perform. It can feel like a pointless and unmotivating part to play, but they do it. The hope became reality the year Soldier Doll didn’t show up for dress rehearsal. Ase hurried to put on the costume and surprised himself and everyone else with what he could do. The following year he was Prince

Drama- What is theater without the drama? Ase, Zaney, and GirlyK have learned a lot about themselves through dealing with personalities and preferences of others. From divas to tech crew, they have learned that everyone is important and need to be treated equally motivated by love.

Ten Things of Thankful


  1. What an amazing experience for the whole family over the years... Incredible collection of nutcrackers at the end... You have a beautiful family.

  2. (excellent use of the photos)… to see the progression through time (in photos) very cool!
    to find a passion so early and to have the opportunity to nurture and develop it…doesn't get much better than that! you must be very proud.

    thanks for adding to the fun of the TToT

  3. I love this post! Family, tradition, talents, lessons learned--all combined in the Nutcracker. How wonderful that your boys could recognize at such a young age where their talents and interests lie!

  4. WOW! Rebecca, this is so hugely beautiful and inspiring. The Nutcracker is one of my favourite suites of music, and that your whole family get involved, and that they DANCE together. That's incredible. Thanks so much for sharing this :) I'm glad you have your new holiday to enjoy.


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