Every Christmas growing up, for as long as I can remember, our entire family would attend The Nutcracker ballet together. We would get dressed up and, my dad’s three brothers and their families also along, head into downtown Chicago to watch some Christmas magic.
As I kid, I really didn’t enjoy this. I had to wear dress pants and most likely some God-awful itchy sweater that my mom loved. However, what I did like was that we went as a big group to somewhere special. That was our time together.
We haven’t done this in forever. With us kids grown up and with families of our own, the logistics are mind-boggling. We can barely get together for Christmas day anymore as my family lives in entirely another state as do some of the uncles and aunts. I wish we could have some of the magic back.
And while I barely remember any specific presents I received for Christmas when I was a kid, I do remember those ballet trips the most out of all our family’s holiday memories. Why? Because of what my dad did after those outings.
It must have been around the time that stereo systems first came out with CD players because my dad was all about the Dolby Surround Sound. We all came home from the show one year, and he was filled with the spirit of the ballet and popped in his copy of the Nutcracker Suite.
He disappeared for a few moments as the music filled the house, only to reappear in the hallway dressed in his long underwear, twirling and spinning to his heart’s content. I never laughed so hard in my life and still chuckle just thinking about it. I am literally LOLing right now.
What I have taken away from this spectacle (and it was a sight to behold) is this: As a dad, you have to take advantage of times when you can make a fool of yourself for the benefit of your kids.
Growing up with three brothers, I didn’t have a lot of exposure to “girly” stuff so I am glad that as a father of daughters I get to have tea parties and dress up with them. For example, today we had a princess party and my 5-year-old told me I couldn’t come unless I was dressed like a princess. So I pop on a hot pink wig, boa feathers and a tiara. I think that I sufficiently fulfilled those requirements, don’t you think?
As always, it is all for my kids’ benefit. I am awesome at making a fool of myself for them and I am sure a lot of you other dads are as well.
A version of this first appeared on DadNCharge.