In first grade, I took a field trip to the Roosevelt Auditorium at Penn State to see The Nutcracker.
I don't remember too much - I was only 6 - but I remember the red velvety seats, straining to see over the tall guy in front of me, being in awe of the costumes and the dancers. The sheer beauty.
A few years ago I found out that The Nutcracker is danced each year in the Triangle, and I've wanted to take My Big Helper, but with high ticket prices, it hasn't happened.
Soon after beginning this temporary job this fall, I remembered the ballet - and thought that maybe the job would last long enough to save the money.
I found a youth performance in a nice theater downtown - less expensive than the Broadway version, better than the in-a-gym kind - and bought tickets.
The day before the performance I made a card inviting her to come and bought a single white carnation. My Little Man and I delivered it to her school, where they later delivered it to her.
She was so very excited - she climbed in the car after school, yelling, "Thank you, Mommy!"
That night she chose her outfit before going to bed. When she woke up the next morning, she came running into my room, her tights trailing behind her, saying, "Is it time to get dressed, Mommy?"
When finally it was, we got dressed, did her hair, sprayed some perfume, and chose her jewelry.
We grabbed a quick dinner and then headed off to The Melting Pot for a fancy dessert. My Big Helper loves chocolate as much as I do - and she loved that restaurant!
Her eyes grew enormous when they brought out our pot of chocolate, and she had fun tasting each of our dippables in the chocolate.
The minute she finished dessert, she asked to head to the theater. We got there a bit early, but she couldn't wait any longer!
We were super excited to learn that there was a real live orchestra performing with the dancers! I never expected that with kids performing!
The ballet was fabulous. The children were brave, the costumes amazing, and the sets beautiful. The musicians were flawless, and My Big Helper was in awe throughout the entire two-hour performance. She actually complained during intermission because she thought it was over!
Most of the time we live very simply. We don't eat out much, we try to keep 'stuff' to a minimum, and we're not into appearances. But sometimes, love just needs to show off its extravagance, and we did that this weekend. I loved being able to escort my daughter to her very first ballet experience, and it was a night we'll never forget.
Today she brought home my original invitation from school, and inside she replied.
"Mommy, when can we do it again?"
I love knowing that my daughter wants to spend time with me.
That is priceless.
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