‘Isla, get off the stage, Dearest.’ We’d just arrived at the theatre after three hours in the car. Isla was burning of some energy by strutting across a platform thing I think was leftover from another performance.
Part of Isla’s Christmas gift was tickets to The Nutcracker when Scottish Ballet brought it to Inverness.
We didn’t think we’d get to go, because weather was happening right up until we started our road-trip. But we piled in the car, picked up Campah and some snacks, and headed to what some people call ‘the big city.’
After eleventy billion rounds of ‘I Spy’ (I still can’t find a purple car), we arrived and went coffeewards, while Isla make a beeline for the stage, any stage.
Yes, I told her to get off the stage. But secretly I was enjoying seeing her tread the boards and enjoying herself and I wondered if she’s actually destined for the stage. I was having some kind of weird flash-foward. But also remembering all the times my Dad took me to concerts when I was a kid and I’d somehow end up on the stage, because I was cute and had lots of moves for someone under ten.
Apples and trees, they say.
And of course, I took a photo of Isla swishing on stage. And then I took a photo of my coffee, a giant bowl of a thing, next to Isla’s tiny babyccino of frothy milk and cinnamon and magic.
‘What are you doing?’ my Dad asks.
‘I’m, um, taking a picture of my coffee.’
‘For the blog?’
‘Eventually. Maybe. This is for Instagram.’
‘Basically 800 million people take pictures of their coffee.’
‘Since when do you care what millions of people are doing?’
‘I don’t. It’s just fun. I’m on it for the books.’
And so, my Dad, who isn’t even that old, looks over his glasses at my Instagram.
‘How come you follow more people than follow you?’
‘Because I’m nice?’
‘Is this another thing keeping you from writing actual words on your blog?’
‘No, dude. Every little helps. I’ll even blog this conversation.’
And in case you’re wondering, the coffee I instagrammed wasn’t actually that good.
Back to the ballet, after Isla jumped around some more, we had dinner. And Isla insisted on 6 trips to the bathroom. On one of those trips, I discovered the accessible toilet was slightly too small to be y’know, accessible. But I wasn’t going to sit through a ballet while also needing to pee, so I did manage to go without hitting random limbs off the sink or the giant
goddamn toilet paper dispenser. Which was positioned above the grab rail, making the rail kind of not useful.
However, this post is about the ballet, not the bog.
The ballet and me aren’t good friends. However, seeing The Nutcracker, even after Christmas, but still around Christmas, is a childhood rite of passage, that I was y’know, looking forward to sharing with my child. The look of wonder on her face as dancers did whatever they do across the stage, tapping her feet to music she’ll remember as the 732nd piece of music she’s heard, but as part of the first ballet she saw.
But as we sat in the back, which was still a pretty great view, Isla fell asleep. When she woke up, my Dad went out to the car to get Isla’s stuffed penguin Victoria, and then Neil took Isla out to run around some more.
And so, as the music swelled, I had a few moments to myself. And I cried, because I was a kid again, and because I’m not a kid anymore.
Isla missed the dancing rats, which I thought would be her favourite part. She’s since told me the best part was the ice-cream at intermission.
And I hate to talk shop, but during the break I made some suggestions regarding the accessibility of the accessible toilet.
The show ended and we headed back up the road. Isla fell back asleep and I wondered if visions of sugarplums danced in her head, but then I realised that was the wrong show. Or something.
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Also published on Medium.