I was invited to an all-expense paid trip to Los Angeles courtesy of Disney to attend the #DisneysNutcrackerEvent & ABCTVEvent in exchange for my coverage. No other compensation was provided. All views shared are completely my own.
Growing up the holiday season was a very special time. My grandmother would spend countless hours decorating, cooking, and entertaining family and friends. Our house would be filled with laughter, loud talking, music (mostly the blues), kids running around, and lots of food.
Those days are engrained in my depths of my heart and mind and have left a remarkable impression about how I celebrate the holidays with my family. I am the first to plan dinner, gatherings, and family time for Thanksgiving and Christmas. When I started seeing the trailer for Disney’s The Nutcracker and The Four Realms, it took me back to my joyous memories of being a kid enjoying the holiday season.
When I was selected to attend the Premiere for The Nutcracker and The Four Realms I was overjoyed. I have been dealing with a lot of issues, feeling insecure, and missing my grandmother like crazy – this was just the pick me up I needed to get me back to myself and in the holiday spirit. I knew it would be a great trip when I was invited to kick off the trip with a visit to Disneyland, my grandmother and I visited Disneyland frequently…it was our favorite spot.
Disneyland was awesome, there were The Nutcracker and The Four Realms posters everywhere and one of the theaters even offered a preview of the film. I was beginning to feel that this movie was going to be pretty impactful, and boy was I right.
You see, young Clara needs a magical, one-of-a-kind key to unlock a box that contains a priceless gift. A golden thread leads her to the coveted key, but it soon disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world. In that world, she meets a soldier named Phillip, a group of mice and the regents who preside over three realms. Clara and Phillip must now enter a fourth realm to retrieve the key and restore harmony to the unstable land.
The Nutcracker and The Four Realms is directed by Lasse Hallstrom and Joe Johnston and stars Mackenzie Foy (Clara), Jayden Fowora-Knight (Nutcracker Solider Phillip) Keira Knightley (The Sugarplum Fairy), Eugenio Derbez (Flower Realm King), Morgan Freeman (Drosselmeyer), Helen Mirren (Mother Ginger), and Misty Copeland (Ballerina). They are joined by others like Nick Mohammed, Miranda Hart, Richard E. Grant, Lil Buck, and a few others. Disney’s The Nutcracker and The Four Realms dances in theaters today, November 2nd.
As I sat in the El Capitan Theatre watching the film along with the cast, I was flooded with so many personal battles that I’d been dealing with in my mind. I thought about the type of daughter I was to my parents and granddaughter to my amazing grandmother. I thought about the type of mom I am to Chance and the mom that I want to be to him. It was so very emotional and joyful at the same time. I felt hopeful! Immediately following the premiere, I began adding notes in my phone about how the film made me feel and what my biggest lesson was.
What stuck with me the most was the importance, the weight, and significance of a mother’s gift to her child. I am trying to dig into this without spoilers, so I will tread lightly….but know that I love you because I really want to give a play by play of the true intentionality of gifts from a mom. Clara received a gift from her mom that changed the trajectory of her life, and her mom knew that it would.
Growing up I distinctly remember the gifts that my mom bought (and often sent to my grandmother’s house) for me, especially as a little girl that helped shape my whole life.
THE GIFT OF SALVATION
The first present I clearly remember getting from my mom was a children’s bible. I remember thinking it was the most unexpected and special gift that I could have ever received, and I never forgot that it came from her. I was 9 years old when she gave me the bible for the Christmas. It was my fourth-grade year and it was hard. I had no idea that this gift would be the cornerstone of the most important relationship in my life. I am who I am today because I believe in the words written in the very first book I remember getting from my mom.
THE GIFT OF UNCONDITIONAL LOVE
The second gift that meant so much to me was my FedEx sweatshirt. Yes, my brother and I received matching sweatshirts with the FedEx logo and the saying “absolutely, positively overnight.” This was one of the first Christmas’ that I had celebrated in a while with my mom. She was working at FedEx at the time and gave my brother and I matching sweatshirts. We were so proud of our shirts and proud of our mom, her hard work was paying off. We wore those shirts out…my brother even took school pictures in his. It was a time of bonding and one of the best Christmas’ ever. I learned the value of hard work, and to never stop believing in the power of love.
THE GIFT OF SELF WORTH
The third gift was a pair of Gucci boots. I know, I know…remember I grew up I LA and that was completely normal. LOL!! The Gucci boots were so timely. I was transitioning from middle school to high school and it was tough. I was having issues with acne, I was super skinny (which I would love to be now), and I just did not feel like I fit in. Those boots were everything to me at the time. I remember wearing them to school and I was immediately IN! I learned a valuable lesson about friendship that year, but more importantly I learned to never base my value or worth and certainly not friendships on material things.
You may not understand why these things were so special, but you also don’t know the relationship history of me and my mom. The gift to Clara from her mom not only reminded me of the many gifts from my mom that aided in me being who I am today, but it also reminded me of the gifts that I would want to give or leave my son. Not just for Christmas or birthdays, but the type of gift that would bring out the best part of him…his true purpose.
Motherhood is not easy, it is a lot of work. Disney’s The Nutcracker and The Four Realms helped me to see that while I was not always in my mom’s presence, her presents benefited me greatly – and I’m grateful. I’d like for my presence and the presents I give and leave Chance to be as impactful as those given to me from my mom and Clara from her mother.
I encourage you to go see The Nutcracker and The Four Realms today. Perhaps your experience won’t be as deep as mine…and maybe it will. But I do know that it will help you appreciate the holidays, your family and friends. And honestly, that’s a lot!
PS. I will be sharing more of the amazing interviews, tours and behind the scene activities that I experienced while in Los Angeles for the #DisneysNutcrackerEvent. You can also stay informed about THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS by visiting the website, following on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. You can also follow along using the #DisneysNutcrackerEvent hashtag.
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