Florian is through with his Nutcracker season, and I am through watching, supporting, and yes even participating for this year.
Since I met Florian I've seen scads of Nutcrackers but somehow it never gets old.
I find the traditional story--of a little girl who is transported to a beautiful land where people wear colorful costumes and dance the traditions of cultures all over the world, where all those different cultures appreciate each other and dance together harmoniously and with big smiles--to be so moving. All these people are not at war with each other, they're not enslaving each other or taxing each other or exploiting each other, they're just dancing.
All the more moving because the little girl finds, at the end, that it was all a dream.
Even in the non-traditional Nutcracker we both did this year--where Florian danced the part of a sailor and of a tin soldier doll, and I acted a part that consisted solely of being angry and stomping on my stage boyfriend's foot--I get a bit choked up.
OK, not during the sailor dance. That one is just silly.
But the tin soldier and the ballerina doll are just inanimate dolls until they touch each other, at which point they come to life and dance.
For some reason as I stood backstage watching my little tin soldier and our beautiful friend Ashley, the ballerina, what I kept thinking about was--dogs.
Little scrumpy baby puppy dogs like my Sandy, who want nothing more than to be touched and loved.
Touch them, and they come to life with wiggles and wags and endless snorty grunting kisses.
They don't ask for much and they bring so much beauty and joy into the world.
We have the power of life or death over them, and as much as we abuse that power they still give us nothing but love. Like the people who exist only in our dreams and our stories, they are always ready to smile, always full of joy and appreciation for us.
So when we got finished with our Nutcracker, we went straight home to our own little fairy tale.
There we were covered with wet snorting kisses from our diverse little crew of people from all different backgrounds, all getting along and all animated and full of life and love for no other reason than that they were close to the people who care for them, just like the tin soldier and his ballerina doll.