The Nutcracker overture fills the room. DeCelie puts the plastic microphone in my hand, “Mom, you say ladies and gentlemen.” She runs backstage, (A.K.A. the hallway,) and awaits her introduction.
“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, presenting…”
She prances in with her smile spread wide. Her four year old body lifts in a leap and she twirls on tippy toes. Her expression whispers grace and her hands float delicately at her sides. A natural. She begins singing, a little less naturally, a song she is making up as she goes.
“I love to dance, I love ballet, I like my Mom, I like my Dad, I like my Father, I lovieeee!!!” Her volume increases at the note we assume to be her last. She pauses and it’s confirmed so we clap and yell, “Brava!…Brava!” Her head drops to her waist and her arms flare out to her sides to bow. “Dank you everyone.”
It is Charis’ turn now so DeCelie ushers the little dancer backstage.
“Ladies and gentlemen, boy and girls, presenting…”
Charis comes in just like her big sister. She is ready to sing but DeCelie decides she needs encouraging words, “Don’t be shy”… “Dont be ‘fraid.” They shout whispers back and forth in each other’s ears before Charis begins to sing. Then she too ends on a dramatic note and bows deep with a grateful word.
After multiple costume changes and new selections of “ballet wu-sic,” Daddy says he’s “feeling it” and gets up to join in on the fun. He twirls and floats, kicks and poses. His eyebrows are fixed. He’s serious. He lauds his own moves, “Did you see that?…That was good!” I can’t stop giggling. My side hurts. My cheeks ache. Joy can grow so big it hurts.
He lifts each ballerina in the air and a symphony of laughter rises to meet their heights. Daddy’s sweating now and prepares to take his final bow. But the girls love this ballet concert and never want it to end.