JulieLeung.com: a life told in tidepools

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March 19th, 2004 · 3 Comments

As a mother, I’m conscious of our daughters’ physical development. Concerned would be an appropriate word. I observe them during their gymastics classes, compare them to the other children, and take notes of their weaknesses. I remember the exercises so we can practice them at home. On our living room carpet we do straddle jumps and stretches. I show them how to bend like a bridge. We practice balance, following strips on the hardwood floor.

The other morning I took five year old Abigail to a playground in our neighborhood. She wanted to hang on the monkey bars. Eager to help her practice gymnastics, I helped her grab hold and hang.

Can you do a tuck? I asked

She had some trouble moving her body through the various positions. She needed strength. More practice.

I thought I’d try. I’d demonstrate.

Grabbing a bar, I pulled my body together into a tuck. I could hold it for a second or two, only about as long as my daughter could.

While trying to do a straddle, my legs hit the neighboring playstructure. There was not enough room.

I tried to do a pike. To make my legs take a 90 degree turn from my body. I couldn’t do it. I tried but my body would not bend into an “L” shape.

In that moment, I remembered how I had never excelled in athletics. Never been a gymnast. All I’d been able to do was run. In high school I had trained to race around the track and cross-country courses. But I’d never been able to bend, flex or hang.

I hung there on the bars, this thirtysomething mommy, unable to bend her body, suddenly aware of what she had been doing to her own children. I saw myself, dangling strangely, awkward and out of shape. I was weak. Lacking flexibility.

I saw the hypocrite that is me.

Tags: journal

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Gerhard Kalab // Mar 19, 2004 at 2:19 am

    I only recently discovered your blog. Thank you for your writings – I’ve a great time reading it.

    There’s an interesting article about Gymnastik classes here: http://www.sensoryawareness.org/hengsti.html

    Gerhard Kalab — Austria

  • 2 Julie // Mar 19, 2004 at 4:42 pm

    Thanks for your comment and the link! I do believe that there is much more to developing a person than the physical strength and growth. Thanks for reading!

  • 3 Anita Rowland // Mar 20, 2004 at 12:36 pm

    when I go to Curves, I make sure to do the stretching afterwards.