PEN&INKee^POSSIBILITIES:Sharing stories with the community

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By Kirsten Laskey

My sister once commented that if her acquaintances ever connected the dots between her family and this column, they would know all about  her life.

Perhaps it is a little odd to have strangers know you before you ever open your mouth, but I can’t help sharing. As this year concludes, I think more and more that 2009 has been one of the best and my sister’s family has played a major role in that fact. Everything they have been involved in is more rich and luminescent.

I noticed this during a recent venture into Santa Fe. My sister, her oldest son, Connor, her daughter, Mairien, my mother and I went to see “The Nutcracker.”

Walking into the lobby of the Lensic Theater, with its lush colors and large staircases, we discovered we missed the first hour of the ballet. We could hear the music from the snow scene floating between the seams of the auditorium’s doors.

It was an honest mistake, which bummed out the adults of the group, but Mairien and Connor didn’t seem to mind at all.

They played with the life-sized model of a Nutcracker and when we snuck in the back row of the theater to check out the final moments of the snow dance before intermission, Connor ran excitedly through the aisle.

When a crowd of people rushed out of the auditorium, Mairien taught me to stay on my toes.

Probably filled with excitement and adrenaline, my sister’s little girl zoomed through the mass of people with me scrambling behind her, calling, “Mairien!” “Mairien!” If she heard me, she took no note of it. I noticed several good natured people smiling at the two of us weaving through the crowd.

Mairien raced up the stairs and peeked over the second floor banister, shouting and waving to her mother and brother.

Hunger pains kept Connor by my sister’s side. Our mother brilliantly went to a nearby bakery and even though food isn’t allowed, she smuggled a bag of pastries to our seats to appease his appetite.

The second half of the Aspen Ballet’s “Nutcracker” took the audience to a merry-go-round. It featured a huge glittery prop with a backdrop made to look like the night sky.

Mairien squirmed a little bit in her seat, but at one point during the Russian dance, I noticed her softly clapping her hands.

When the Sugarplum Fairy came out to perform one of her dances, Mairien leaned over and loudly whispered to me, “It’s your favorite!” Indeed, I have always thought of the Sugarplum Fairy as the queen bee of the Land of Sweets.

When the show was over and we were getting up to leave, I asked Connor and Mairien if they liked the ballet and they both nodded yes. That sealed the deal for me; if they liked it then it was all worth it.

Later, it occurred to me that Connor and Mairien made the entire event shine.

If it was just us adults, we would have smashed ourselves against the wall in the theater during the snow scene so we wouldn’t be spotted, waited quietly during intermission for a chance to find our seats and then passively watched the ballet.

It would have been polite but not nearly as much fun.

After my sister and her children left to go home, my parents commented how much the two of them have grown up this past year. It is true.

Their wild tendencies have certainly tamed and they have become more kind and gentle. I can hardly wait for next year to see what new developments occur, and of course share it all with you.