in a nutshell

Darling Clara,

Tonight we open the curtain and welcome our audience, inviting them to experience the magic of our story.  Winter season after season our tale is told, and retold, in small community spaces and on grand professional stages.  The setting is always the same, our family Christmas Eve party.  Yet each production finds its own unique voice in telling our tale.  Despite the many interpretations, there are some constant central messages in The Nutcracker.  Boys break toys.  Uncles perform magic.  Dads love their little girls.  Dreams come true.  As a mother to a daughter, the lesson I hope you remember most is this:  within you, everything is possible.

In the traditional narrative you, dear Clara, take a simple slipper and change the course of your dream.  It is the heat of the battle scene, the Rat King is about to kill The Nutcracker, and chaos reigns with swords and cannons and soldiers everywhere.  And in that moment you save the day.


You with your slipper.  Armed with a clear mind and a true instinct, you vanquish evil.  By striking the Rat you distract him from his purpose and the Nutcracker is saved.  The tide is turned and it is the Rat who perishes.  With the sole of a slipper you set your life’s journey along a new path.  When you could cower in a corner, you draw upon your inherent bravery and stand up for that in which you most believe.  Love.  You illustrate for girls and women, boys and men everywhere that each of us is enough, just as we are.  For true power comes not from size or rank; it matters not if you are soldier or king.  Enduring strength comes from listening to the quiet within, finding your deepest dream, and acting upon it.

So even once the final curtain closes, the snow has stopped falling on stage, the lights have been dimmed, do not think your role is over.  You are the artist, the director, the dancer, the choreographer of your life.  There will be times when your stage will be dark, times when the spotlight will be blazing and even other times when the cacophony of the distracted audience will be overwhelming.  In all of those moments, pause, take a deep breath, and become aware.  Aware of your voice, your inner light, your deepest truth.  Find the arc of your own story, and tell it.  It is both that profound and that simple.

And remember, too, no matter where you are, I am at your side whispering in your ear- I love you.

Mama Stahlbaum

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