(advent) Day 23 – The nutcracker dances…
Friday, December 23
“You,” Molly said, brandishing a wooden spoon at her husband, “are up to something.”
Drew gave her an innocent look. “What do you mean?”
She leveled a stern gaze at him. “I can just tell,” she said, taking the spoon to the quick bread batter she was mixing up. “You and Schrodinger both.”
You know, it could just be that we’re trying to be good for Santa, Schrodinger said. It could be.
“I don’t believe it,” Molly said. “You two are up to something.”
Drew looked over at Schrodinger and winked. “Well, you know, Christmas is coming up,” he said. “It’s the time to be up to something, if we were, which we definitely aren’t, by the way.”
“Uh-huh.” Her tone of voice conveyed just how much she didn’t believe him.
Drew decided to change the subject while he was still on safe ground. “So, what time is Aunt Margie closing tomorrow?”
“Noon, so we can do the Advent castle before we go home, and before Zeke and Kiaya have to leave,” Molly said.
Leave? Schrodinger said, dismayed. But that means Gideon won’t get to do the final day on the calendar!
“Why not? They’re coming over to the farmhouse for Christmas dinner,” Molly said. “Zeke couldn’t get the time off to go back to his parents’ for Christmas, so I invited them to join us, but they’re going to do their own thing Christmas Eve.”
Oh good! Schrodinger said. It wouldn’t be fun without him!
“I agree,” Drew said. “I hope they’ve had fun with it.”
As if on cue, Gideon himself came running into the kitchen, followed closely by Lily, Kaylee, Jack, and, to Drew’s surprise, Pavel. “Molly! Schrodinger! We have a surprise for you!” Gideon shouted.
Really? Schrodinger came to his feet. What kind of surprise?
Pavel winked at him. “A special surprise, but it has to wait,” he said. “Until we do the Advent Calendar.”
“Then let’s do it!” Kaylee said eagerly. “I want to share the surprise!”
Their enthusiasm was contagious, and Molly finished her quick bread while Drew went and got the calendar. She slipped the finished batter into the refrigerator with a layer of plastic wrap over the top, then joined the rest of them in looking for the 23.
Pavel found it, nestled almost in the snow on the ground of one of the outbuildings. The window opened into a darkened room, and for a moment, Drew wondered if something had gone wrong. Then candles began to glow, softly, and the darkness lifted, showing a single girl sitting at the feet of a giant nutcracker doll.
He heard Molly gasp as the nutcracker’s hand came up, and a silver ball of light rose from the darkness and landed in Pavel’s hand as a piece of parchment. “I hope you will join us,” he read, and looked up at Molly. “You will, won’t you?”
Drew turned and looked at Molly, whose eyes were wide. The Nutcracker was her favorite ballet, and even knowing what was coming, he was pleased to see the shocked look on her face. Then, as he’d known she would, she turned on him. “You knew!” she accused. “You knew! And you didn’t tell me!”
“All I knew was that there was something planned,” Drew said honestly, glad that she hadn’t guessed his other secret. “They didn’t actually tell me what they were doing.”
“They?” Molly turned and looked at Pavel. “Is that the surprise?”
“Come on, Molly!” Gideon said, running over and tugging on her arm. “Come on!” And he began to drag her towards the door. “Come on!”
They all followed him outside after pulling on their coats, where Drew was expecting to see Pavel’s sleigh.
Instead of the sleigh, however, there was a large carriage, and inside, the Snow Queen, dressed in shimmering white fur, was waiting, Jack Frost at her side. “Come on,” she called out. “We’re going to miss the show!”
It took only a few minutes for them to pile into the carriage, which was pulled by four white horses with holly braided into their manes and tails. Drew and Molly ended up next to Jade, who was grinning excitedly.
“Are you surprised?” she asked Molly. “Did we surprise you?”
“Of course!” Molly said, giving her a hug. “I had no idea!”
>Activity: Pop some popcorn and watch Molly’s favorite ballet, The Nutcracker! Or your own favorite Christmas movie!