Friday, December 21, 2007
One of my favorite holiday traditions is The Nutcracker. As I write this,The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy is dancing through my head.
In 1993, M was only 4 years old at Christmastime and S was 7. We were living close to Washington, DC at the time. With tickets to a performance of The Nutcracker at the Warner Theatre in hand, I dressed those little girls up in the most beautiful dresses in the world. They wore matching dark green dresses with a pattern of holly and berries and cream colored yokes, hand painted with a winter scene of holly and cardinals. The girls were beyond lovely in their dresses, tights, hair bows, and patent-leather shoes. We headed downtown, got off the metro at Metro Center and walked with our clickey heels to the theatre.
Our seats were in the first balcony in the first row of the second section. S was beside me on my right next to the aisle and M was on my left. As we sat in our seats watching people come in and waiting for the ballet to start, M dozed off against my shoulder and S, as always was as alert as an owl watching everything. Suddenly, men in suits with walkie talkies appeared in front of us and people stopped coming up the stairs.
The next thing we knew, in walked the First Lady, Hillary Clinton, along with several other people including one that I recognized as President Clinton's mother, Virginia Kelley. They sat just in front of us in the last row of the first section. It was then that I realized that Chelsea Clinton would be dancing in the performance.
Hillary Clinton looked around and caught my eye and looked at the two little girls on either side of me and we exchanged a genuine mother-to-mother smile. At that moment, she was not the First Lady of the most powerful country in the world, nor the architect of health care reform, nor a future presidential candidate. She was a proud mother, at a ballet with her mother-in-law sharing a smile with another mother.