Saturday, December 10, 2005


I'm taking the kids to see "The Nutcracker" tonight.

Nope, not "the" Nutcracker. It's not the "Big Show" (i.e. Atlanta ballet production at the Atlanta Fox); it's the more modest Georgia Ballet production at the Cobb County Civic Center Auditorium. It's a nice show, lovely costumes . . . but it's certainly not the Fox.

I feel a little bit guilty that I didn't spring for the big tickets. Guilt and Christmas seem to go hand in hand for me, ever since I had kids. I feel a tremendous pressure to create memories for my kids, and sometimes, that compulsion to spin magical Christmas memories makes my efforts seem trivial to me.

I've been thinking how much nicer it would be to take my kids downtown to the beautiful Fox theater, and see their eyes light up from the magic and splendor. I mean, there's nothing quite so magical as downtown Atlanta at Christmas, at least for me.

My Christmas memories of riding the Pink Pig train to Santa and seeing the lighting of the Great Tree at the downtown Rich's seem so much more grand than anything that I am able to cobble together for my little suburban babies. Is seeing Santa at Town Center just as good? Is going to the Cobb Ballet and swinging by Los Reyes for tacos afterward just as good? Is the artificial tree that I put up as worthy as the fresh cut Frazier furs that we had every year growing up?

I find myself scanning store ads and Ebay, frantically locating the "perfect" gifts for them. I lay awake at night, planning how I will get everything ready by Christmas day. I try to think about how I could make it better. And I worry. Alot.

If I'm lucky, somewhere in the midst of this tinsel-induced frenzy, I stop and remind myself that Christmas probably seemed so magical then because the rest of the year in contrast was generally so shitty. If I am enjoying a moment of clarity, I also remind myself that everything doesn't ride on Christmas like it did when I was growing up, that my kids have other good memories of me, of us, that don't revolve around Christmas cheer.

Those Christmas memories, when I was a kid, when our family came together, when the fighting and craziness seemed to just evaporate and all was well . . . they are all I've got, but it won't be all that they have.

And I am going to enjoy Christmas now, and stop letting Christmas past haunt me.

I vow it.

1 comment:

Robyn said...

Your local ballet company can really use your support and ticket sales. They work hard all year with less resources to create a beautiful show. I bet you might even be able to take the kids around to the stage door after the show and meet some of the dancers. How special would that be? Call ahead and find out.

Any time you spend doing something fun and unusual with your kids will create memories. "Perfect" is never really engineered, it happens in the moment. You will always ruin "perfect" by trying to push for it too hard.

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