I don’t always understand God’s ways. If you’ve read many of my posts, you know that one of the many instances where the logic of God’s wisdom escapes me is when I see that I have a height and build many athletes would enjoy, but none of their coordination, fitness, or finesse, to put those gifts to use. The middle school cross-country coach was thrilled to see me go out for the team, commenting on how my long legs would be an asset – until he saw me run. Running hard makes me look like a three-legged giraffe in high heels on gravel.
In the five months since my littlest daughters’ arrival, I’ve been flattered by many observers who’ve noted how quickly I lost the weight. And dressing strategically, I’ve mostly been able to hide the extra stomach bulge. It feeds my vanity, but still leaves me missing my regular clothes and saying a little prayer every time I cough or sneeze. (I’ve always said my figure would look great, if only my chest would stick out further than my stomach, and nursing has given me the dream.) There are plenty of areas for improvement, but I think I am most limited by my lack of core strength. When I get stuck in bed, like a cockroach on its back, hopelessly kicking my legs to free them from the covers, and trying to find a way out, I feel sure of this assessment.
When the girls’ ballet school opened up an adult class this fall, the answer to my problems was clear. I thought back to when my oldest started ballet. She was a pretty klutzy, head-too-big-for-her-body, toddler. I noticed within weeks that she had better balance and coordination, and in their years of dance, both my older girls have developed a kind of poise and grace that has always eluded me. They seem to have an athletic edge, no matter what sport they try, and they never need a hand to get out of bed in the morning. I think it’s their strong core, and I want one for myself.
So I went to ballet class for the first time in my life last night. I plie’d and tondu’ed and eschappe’d…it was horrible. I’m a giant three year old, made of Jello. No skills, no coordination, and when she had us do the little jumps, there was not a single part of my body that didn’t jiggle. It’s a very small class, but I still managed to repeatedly bonk into other dancers, and, a short 12 hours later, I’m one giant muscle cramp from head to toe. If they did a Married with Children episode where Peg Bundy went to ballet class, it couldn’t have been funnier than what I saw in front of me in the mirror last night.
But it was a blast. I never had so much fun looking like an idiot and getting exercise (funny enough, those two things usually go together for me). I was relieved when the instructor confirmed for us that we are not expected to participate in the recital next Spring, and, thank you, Lord, there is only a small window in the door for observers. But I am not going to let my pride get in the way. I’m going to learn to dance. I’m going to get my body to actually be fit and not just look fit. And I’m going to do those little, jiggly jumps until I no longer have to worry about bladder control.
It’s never too late, right?
Shapely and graceful your sandaled feet, and queenly your movement—Your limbs are lithe and elegant, the work of a master artist. Song of Solomon 7:1