Gymnastics in Jeans

If there’s one thing I’m guilty of – it’s being guilty of way more than one thing. But at the top of the list would be spreading myself too thin. (That’s a nice way of saying I’m a little bit scatter brained.) That’s my mother-in-law, Gwen’s excuse for it anyway.

       It’s a running joke in my husband’s family that anytime someone forgets something, misplaces something – usually a purse or cell phone, or doesn’t show-up somewhere they are suppose to be, that they are having a ‘Gwenie Moment.’

       My mother-in-law takes a lot of heat for being ‘spread too thin’. It’s a rare occasion when she leaves our house at the end of a visit without coming back – at least once – for an item she’s left behind. (As stated above, purses and cell phones are the most common culprits.)

       Well, they say men marry their mothers and this could not be truer than when it comes to my increasing forgetfulness.

       I think things reached an all-time ridiculous last night when I went to pull my reusable grocery bags out of the back of my Suburban last night on my way in to Kroger – only to find a carton of eighteen, unopened, rotten eggs.

       A few things here. First, I CANNOT believe I did not smell the wafting aroma of sun-baked eggs decomposing in the back of my car. (Don’t waste your money on expensive car air fresheners; those little, yellow trees apparently work wonders.) Second, I’ve always heard the expression ‘you’re just a rotten egg,’ but I never really grasped the meaning behind it. Nobody wants to be a rotten egg, nobody!

       I was mortified as I tried to sneak the carton of eggs into the garbage can outside the entrance to Kroger without anyone seeing me. At first, I thought someone might think I was attempting to shoplift something, sneaking the eggs, slowly out of my bag. But then I realized I would rather people think I was a thief than a moron.

       My husband was so proud of me when I got home that he immediately said, "I've got to call my mom!"

Well, my moronness (I love making up new words) apparently carries over into all walks of my life, because I’m constantly forgetting things…leaving things. Thankfully, knock on wood; I’ve not left a child somewhere – yet.

       A few weeks ago, I was (surprise, surprise) spread too thin. I had to work late and then leave straight from work to take Bianca to gymnastics. Of course, I had not forgotten about gymnastics. No, I had simply thought we would have time to go home to change before. That is why I didn’t bring gymnastics clothes with me. Not because I forgot gymnastics clothes. I would never do that.

       When I got to my mother-in-law’s to pick Bianca up, we rummaged through some spare clothes at her house to no avail. I even called a friend who lived nearby to see if she had any of her granddaughter’s clothes at her house. Of course, she didn’t.

       So, Bianca’s options were to A) go to gymnastics in her jeans or B) skip gymnastics and go home. It was comical trying to explain to a three-year-old that she couldn’t do both. But through tears and broken words I thought I deciphered that Bianca did in fact want to go to gymnastics. I didn’t see any harm in sending her to gymnastics in jeans. I mean, she’s three. What could they possibly be doing at gymnastics at this age that couldn’t be accomplished in a pair of jeans? It’s not like we’re training for the Olympic Team or anything. She’s lucky if she gets both feet off the ground in her cartwheel at this stage.

       I was obviously mistaken on my interpretation. Because as we walked through the door to the gym and Bianca saw all of her friends wearing their leotards, she was stuck to my side like a leach. I peeled her from my body with help from her teacher, and ducked my head as I passed the other mothers on the way out to my car. (Another of those Mother of the Year moments, for sure.) Bianca screaming, “But they have on their gymnastics clothes and I don’t!”

       At the end of gymnastics I went up to the teacher to make sure Bianca had done okay, and she reminded me of a conversation I’d had with her a few weeks prior…Let me set the stage.

       I was a cheerleader in high school. I almost hate to say that because of the negative connotations associated with cheerleaders. I would like to think we weren’t your typical cheerleaders. We weren’t obnoxiously perky, definitely far from perfect, and I hope we weren’t total snobs. Nevertheless, I was a ‘cheerleader,’ and at one time I could make my body do unnatural things. (Wait, that doesn’t sound good.) What I mean is, I could flip my feet over my head…on purpose…without injury. (That still doesn’t sound too good, but I swear I mean this in a totally innocent context.)

       Well, I got the brilliant idea – probably as some sort of attempt to cling to my dissolving youth – that Bianca’s gymnastics teacher should offer an adult gymnastics class. I recruited another of the mothers to approach her with me, and she said, YES!

       And wouldn’t you know it, my class started that night.

       “Oh, Shelley I completely forgot,” I said apologetically. “I don’t have any clothes with me.”

       (I’m off the hook, I thought. Because, let’s be honest – part of clinging to your youth is imagining doing things…not actually doing them.)

       “You just made your daughter do gymnastics in her jeans,” Shelley reminded me.

       Sigh…I hate these moments. These moments when you want to take the easy way out; do the wrong thing…. But then there’s this little person standing beside you, watching your every move. (Don’t you ever want to go back to high school and give yourself a wake-up smack whenever you hear your former self say, “I can’t wait to grow-up and be an adult.”?)

       So I slipped my jacket off, unlaced my boots, and hoisted my old, tight (and not tight in a good, six-pack abs kind of way – no, tight in a my muscles don’t want to go in that direction sort of way) body down onto that mat; and I did gymnastics in my jeans – as Bianca cheered me on.


       Note: I’m happy to say that after three days, I was able to walk normally again. I’m pretty sure I’ve torn or ripped my groin – or I have a hernia (I probably ought to go to the doctor and get that checked-out), but I wasn’t quite as terrible as I anticipated. But there is a reason young people are cheerleaders. The geriatric gymnasts – as we’ve named our class – are nothing to look at, except a good laugh.