Some of my friends know that I was basically raised in the dance studio. I loved dancing from the time I could walk. When my mom signed me up for softball, I got put in the outfield, and used the time to practice my pirouettes.

Each year, my mom and I would go to the Nutcracker Ballet, produced by a local professional ballet company. We would get all dressed up, a favorite past-time of most l*ttle g*rls, and I looked forward to it every December. I always wanted to be in a production of the Nutcracker, but my studio focused more on competition than “story” ballet. The closest I ever got to performing the Nutcracker was singing the snowflake’s “aahs” from the orchestra pit as a college student.

After High School, I realized I would have to endure all kinds of cruel and unusual punishment to get my body thin enough for professional dancing. (Sad, but true.) So I chose to pursue voice and music instead. I’m glad I did, although I really want to take more dance classes when the kids get older.

I am thrilled that my daughters love dancing as much as I did as a child. I know what you’re thinking, but they really do! When HipChick started dancing at age 3, an 18 month-old Princess would try every which way to get into the class and line up with the girls. She would cry as I carried her out, and tried to explain that she had to wait a few years. This enthusiasm is partly due to the owner and teachers at the studio. They seem to have a wonderful balance between excellence and fun, and they try to foster a healthy self-image in every girl, regardless of size or shape. That balance is so important to me as a parent.

As I read recently on another blog, (I can’t remember where) there is something magical when your children love the same activities you did. It is incredibly magical to watch my girls playing the parts of a Little Mouse and a Ginger Kid, and look forward to when they can handle the more advanced roles. I sincerely hope they are still dancing then, but I won’t push… too hard, anyway.

I’ve realized while writing this last part that if I want to experience this magic with them, I may need to do it soon. For many reasons, I can’t guarantee that “there will always be next year.” So that’s it, next year I’m volunteering for the party scene! You’ll hold me to it, right?

And of course, I couldn’t write about the Nutcracker without bragging about my little ballerinas!