Nutcrackers and Sugarplums

When I was a very little girl visiting my grandparents I would read pretty much anything I could find that was even remotely interesting to me - I became quite a fan of "Reader's Digest" and "Lady's Home Journal" at a ridiculously young age. (When I think back I wonder that nobody noticed and suggested that they were inappropriate reading material for a 7 year old - but things were different.) There weren't many children's books around their home but one that I loved to read, again and again, was a tattered, torn and missing pages copy of The Nutcracker. Nobody ever read it with me and, probably partly due to the missing pages, I didn't really understand it. It was mysterious and frightening and totally compelling. Time went on and I forgot the book. I grew up and became mother to two sweet girls who loved the magic of pink tutus and fairy tales. Cue Christmas and Nutcracker season!

For the last 12 years "Nutcracker" performances have been a very large part of our Christmas Season. For months prior to performance, rehearsal schedules ruled our lives and Tchaikovsky's wonderful music filled the air. Merin loved it. From her first small part as a Candy Cane to Party Girl to Clara and finally to Sugarplum Fairy. She danced in her sleep.The rest of the family hummed the music under our breath. It was just part of Christmas and I loved it. So imagine my complete shock when, shopping in Holt's, I heard the Sugarplum Fairy music and was overwhelmed with sadness. 

Tomorrow is the first performance of this season of Jeunesse Classique Ballet Company's The Nutcracker. I will attend. I have been "inoculating" myself all week with the score so as to not make others uncomfortable with my tears. I have been trying to direct my mind to thoughts of how much joy Merin took in the opportunity to dance and how pleased she would be with her students. It was important to her. And so I will be okay. 

(I am happy to say that the mystery of the story has long been answered!)


Anna said...

You're wonderful, Aunt Cheri! Enjoy the performance...and the wonderful memories you have! (Also, Ysa is ADORABLE!!)

Anonymous said...


All the best for tomorrow's show. I am starting the Nutcracker tomorrow as well and I often find a small snippet of music will bring back the most random memory of our Christmas' with Jeunesse. Mostly I remember Merin and I laughing at a very handsome Natasha (in full costume and wig, ready to be our prince). But I also remember Merin coaching candy canes, her beautiful rag curls for party scene and, very clearly, her elegance in her Sugar Plum solo. I hope you enjoy the show tomorrow and say hi to your family for me!

Alex MacDonald

Cheri said...

Alex, I so wish I could attend your performance and watch you dance. Merin was so proud of you and so excited for your future. Best of luck (although I know that is not a stage appropriate expression:) ) and know I will be thinking of you and remembering all the wonderful seasons we all had together. Love...Cheri