Wow, today is a big day. Both my boys are off to away camp. And when I say away, I mean outside Fresno, away….for 2 weeks. Jacksons been doing this for 3 years now, but this is the first time my little Cole Bowl is going. I’m going to sound like a horrible mother here, but I’ve been planning this day for 11 years now. Way back when I had Jackson and I was deep in the ‘oh my god, will I ever get time to myself’ trenches I would fantasize about taking a trip to France with the hubs. That fantasy got me through many long nights, many tantrums (both theirs and mine) and numerous monotonous days. Well tomorrow Doug and I get on a plane bound for Paris. Now that it’s here I’m feeling a little numb. It helps that Cole was SO excited to go that he could barely sleep last night. But I’m just not sure how I feel. I held it together until they left and then had a nice quiet cry on the front doorstep. I love them SO much it hurts, and yet I’m excited to do something that’s just for Doug and I. These contrasting emotions have me reeling. Last night Cole said, “Mom, I’m So excited for tomorrow, but I’m nervous too. I’m NervCited!” It’s a great word. It completely expresses how I feel right not. I’m so nervous to leave my kids and so excited to get away. So yes, I’m NervCited. I’m hoping the excited part will win out. We’ll see. As they say in France, “C’est la vie!”
Ok so here’s my newest dilemma. So some of you may know, my oldest son Jackson takes ballroom. I know, stinkin cute right? And he started this of his own accord. He took a free lesson once and was hooked. Oddly enough, we’ve had a hard time finding him a partner. (I know, right? I got a BOY who wants to dance and no partner??) So his coach Mr. V asked if I would step in and rehearse with him. Well of course I said no, because what dancer mother would ever want to dance with her 11 year old son? Kidding, my heart burst at the thought! AND my son was totally into it and we all know I only have about another 6 months until he wants nothing to do with me. So we began to practice together about 5 weeks ago. Then Mr. V tells me he wants Jackson to compete in his first competition thats happening tomorrow. “Great!” I say, who will we get to partner with him? “Oh you’ll do it” he says. Wait whuuuut? So now we are registered as a Pro/Am couple. Meaning I’M THE PRO! Yes yes, I know, I’m a professional dancer. BUT I DON’T DO BALLROOM! That’s a bit like driving a car. Just because you can drive an automatic doesn’t mean you can drive a stick shift. Yes, I’ll eventually get it, but it’s going to be clunky and messy for a while. Did I mention the competition is tomorrow?? I’ve never competed in my LIFE. I was a ballerina, not a competition dancer! I’m so out of my element I can’t even tell you. I HAD TO GET A SPRAY TAN YESTERDAY, because apparently you can’t be butt white and compete in ballroom. No idea what that has to do with my dancing. Hopefully they’ll be so mesmerized by my Oompa Loompa glow that they won’t notice my lack of “heel lead”. And let’s talk about that. What self respecting ballerina has ever led with her heel?? None I tell ya! More than anything I just don’t want to fuck it up for Jackson! He’s the one being judged, not me, but can you imagine if I SCREW UP and cost him a medal? I screwed up 3 times in yesterdays rehearsal. I’ve never been so nervous to dance in my life. Thankfully I had some ballroom friends who loaned me some costumes and are walking me through the ropes but OY!!! Where do we enter? How do we find a spot on the floor? Wait, I won’t know what music they’re going to play till I get out there? What if I run into someone on the floor? Did I mention Jackson is 4 feet tall, and I’m 5’10” in my heels? WHAT DID I GET MYSELF INTO?
But yes, there is the other side too. The ‘OMG I get to be my sons first dance partner!’ And yes, my heart is full when he looks at me while we’re dancing and smiles his adorable smile. So as long as I don’t screw it up, I will cherish this memory forever. Who says there’s no more firsts? Tomorrow, at 43, I will be doing my first dance competition ever. Wish me luck!
I always know when I need to write about something when it’s been a week and I’m still thinking about it. In this case I have facebook to thank. I’ve been seeing this little post circulating and it’s really gotten under my skin. Usually I’m great at just giving an eye roll and moving on, but for some reason, this one really bothered me. I’m sure you’ve seen it; “It’s Merry Christmas not Happy Holidays! share if you agree!”
Let me preface all this by saying I was raised in Texas as a cute white Catholic girl. Outside of the occasional man who made sexist comments or wouldn’t shake my hand, (yes, they’re still out there) I’ve never experienced any kind of prejudice. I’d like to tell you that I’ve never been a prejudiced person myself, but I’m starting to have my doubts. My life has changed a lot since my Texas days. I met my husband, converted to Judaism and am raising two Jewish little boys. And WOW is it eye opening. It’s like being given glasses after not being able to see. When I was growing up I was aware of all the obvious prejudices, and there were many. But there are so many little ones that happen everyday that “we” (good Christians) don’t even see or recognize that we’re doing. We make these huge assumptions because we’ve been brought up in areas where we have been the majority. Or even if we weren’t the majority, we were the dominant people. We assume that everyone should enjoy our holiday, our song, our prayer. And why not? It’s a really great holiday! The songs are so sweet and catchy. And whats wrong with a little prayer? Even if you don’t believe in the same God, just put your head down, close your eyes and pretend. We’re praying for good things aren’t we?
I don’t think I ever consciously thought those things, but the idea was swimming around in there. I’m pretty sure “we” all think Hannukah and Kwanzaa were made up to fill the Christmas void. (News flash, ALL Holidays are made up!) Even now I catch myself singing Christmas songs with “Christ our Saviour is born” and wonder why my husband won’t just sing along, damn it! But would I really want to sing a song about Buddah? or Allah? I don’t care how catchy the tune is, why would I sing a song praising someone or something I don’t believe in? And there it is. There it is in big bold letters. I put those glasses on and I can see everything from a non-Christian view, my kids view. I look around and see how one sided everything is at this time of year. All the songs..the decorations… all of it. It’s been so commercialized that I don’t think my kids even catch half the religious intentions so for the most part it’s ok. I’m all for learning about other religions but again, the one-sidedness is amazing. I go into my sons’ classroom and teach about Hannukah every year. I talk about minorahs and candles, spinning driedles and latkes. Yes, we Jews have a holiday as well. And it’s a really lovely one too. I’ll tell you all about it if you like.
I’m not asking to change anything about Christmas. I love Christmas! Just be aware of who else is around you. There is a Christmas season for the Christians, a Hannukah Season for the Jews, a Kwanzaa season for the African Americans, and the Buddists…..well I don’t know what they do, but I’ll support them whatever it is! My point is, unless I’m assuming ALL of my friends are Christian, why would I say Merry Christmas? I hope my list of friends is diverse enough to include ALL kinds of people. So no, it’s not Merry Christmas, it’s Happy Holidays. Share if you agree.
(You don’t really have to share. I was just using the same phrase that was used in the beginning. See? I’m clever like that )
This week I celebrated my Eleventh wedding anniversary! (yay!) But if truth be told, I don’t put much stock in marriage. Sounds terrible, right? But let me explain: My parents divorced when I was 12. My Grandparents divorced…both my Aunts divorced….my sister divorced. (3 times!) So the idea of marriage….the stereotypical idea of marriage, just isn’t for me. When my husband proposed I happily said, “Yes! But I won’t promise you forever.” So we decided on a marriage ‘lease’. Every year we re-evaluate who we are, what kind of marriage we have and we say, “What do ya think? Another year?” Romantic? Maybe not. Realistic? Yes, I think so.
To promise someone “forever” is, in my opinion, ridiculous. I have no idea who I will be, or who my spouse will be, in 5 years let alone 20…30. Why would I let some preconceived notion of happily ever after, dictate if I stay in a marriage that is no longer healthy? I married when I was 31. My husband and I have been lucky enough to have grown in the same direction. We share the same interests, have the same goals. We are both very physically active. We like to eat healthy and don’t like to drink much. We have similar beliefs. All of these things help keep us together. But what if you’re not so lucky? What if, over the years, you’ve changed? You’ve gotten healthy and your spouse refuses. What if they’ve strayed? What if you’ve strayed? You’re being neglected, or neglecting them? This goes both ways. The marriage lease is a way of keeping us on our toes, stop taking each other for granted. Keep your partner at the top of your list. Not somewhere below 1.wash windows and 2. get kitty litter. We’re all guilty of it. But I think the idea of “forever” exacerbates the problem. So many times people get married and they think ‘that’s it! I’m set for life!’ And they stop trying. They stop trying to impress their spouse….stop courting them. Now, that’s going to happen…of course it is. Trust me, when I’m covered in poop and haven’t slept in 5 days, i’m in no mood to court anyone and I would, in fact, encourage my husband to stay away. BUT, we still have to try, if only in tiny little ways.
I hear celebrities say things like, “divorce is not an option!” All whilst fighting off reports of infidelity or abuse. My motto is “divorce is always an option” so I better make sure that I let my husband know how much I love him. That he is special to me and even after 11 years, I’m still happy to be with him. And hopefully he’ll do the same for me.
Now, i’m certainly not encouraging anyone to jump ship at the first sign of waves. There are always going to be rough patches. We had one that lasted 2 years. It was tough, and there were times I wondered if we’d make it. Did divorce enter my mind? Yes it did, but to be honest, the idea that divorce was a possibility, that I wasn’t ‘stuck’, actually helped me through it. If I know that I don’ t HAVE to stay, it makes it easier TO stay. I have a choice. We always have a choice. So I choose to work hard and work through the rough times. Will it always be that way? I don’t know. So far so good! But I’m just taking it one year at a time.
Big changes yet again! We finally found our own space! I’ll be teaching my Dance Fitness classes in the same studio we teach our Aerial classes! It’s a gorgeous warehouse with high ceilings and a rockin sound system. So come on over and try a free class on me. The address is 151 Kalmus Dr #J-7 Costa Mesa, CA 92626. (Inside Dance Asylum) Hope to see you soon!!