I had one of those moments the other day that only movies with inspirational soundtracks have. Then I had a moment out of "The Three Stooges". And then I had a whole series of moments that, for better or worse, are only possible in my life. And you people wonder why I eat so many Peanut M&M's. It's the unpredictability of it all, man. Makes me twitchy.
Let us begin with my moment of sheer stunning glory:
After over thirty years of roller skating I was able to cross over on some of my turns. They weren't flawless. They weren't easy. But I did it. And then I did it again. It feels even better than it looks like it would. Feels like flying, skiing, swimming, and dancing all at once.
Lemme set this up: It was Sunday afternoon at the Old School Skate Party at the Roller Dome. My kids were skating at their paces and I was just trying not to run over any little squirt darting across traffic.
I'm very subtle at the Dome de Roll in the manner that only a 6' tall, 40+, mommed out, white woman augmented by roller skates can be in a predominantly African American venue for 20 somethings and under. I'm also the only person wearing a skirt. I live to regret that in the deflation part of this story
Ms. Mary J. Blige was belting out my theme song or, as I remarked to my male offspring in the soda area, "Chug that down, boy. This is my JAM." (And to think I said and he received that with a straight face.)
Mary is crooning: "So I like what I see when I’m looking at me when I’m walking past the mirror./ No stress through the night, at a time in my life - ain’t worried about if you feel it./ Got my head on straight, I got my mind right. I ain't gonna let you kill it./ See I won’t change my life, my life’s just…..
Fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, ooooh
Fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, ooooh"
I don't know what happened next or how. I just kind of relaxed into my stride and all of the sudden - I'm crossing over.
For those of you who don't skate and who are getting bored... a sex reference. (Yes, Reader #14 in Arlington, Virginia, I mean YOU.)
Crossing over is the multiple orgasm of the average rink skater. Off the rink you tell everyone you can do it, when honestly you only did it those couple of times, and you may not have done it then 'cuz you were kind of tipsy. In the rink you just don't make eye contact with anyone on the curves and hope they don't notice that the only crossing over you do is into REM sleep while watching documentaries.
Crossing over is the skating move you see on every single really good skater as they go around a curve. It looks effortless but when you are skating like a Yeti in snow shoes who doesn't make eye contact, as most of us do, it's really hard.
But guess what?! Turns out that when you are 40 plus, not giving a darn about what you look like because everyone thinks you are a dweeb anyway, and letting Mary J do her magic it is really easy.
I giggled. I stuck my tongue out in concentration. I giggled some more. And round and round I went. Crossing over and over and over. Heaven.
I said to myself, "Holy crap! I'm doing it. I'm doing something that my 6-15 year-old self would kill to do. I still got tricks I don't even know about. Look at me. LOOK at me. Lawdy, lawdy - LOOK AT ME!"
"I won't change my life. My life's just fine fine fine fine fine fine..."
So that was all very exciting although, it turns out, not multi-orgasmic. Then I skated awhile longer with the children - guiding the six-year-old off the safety rail and getting Mr. Nine-year-old Wide Stance Low Balance to close his legs up a little. I sent him off the rink first because he's been sick. I gave her two bonus laps which she did with aplomb for a little gal who up until a couple weeks ago could not remain standing on her own in the rink for more than 20 seconds.
I took my final two cool down laps. And then... deflation.
You know I fell. You knew that going into this. You aren't idiots. You can read a title. I don't need to build up to it or guide you through it with some dramatic tension. You, I, and every single soul in that rink know that giant white mama wiped out on her rear region coming off the rink.
Skates shot out from under me. Skirt flew up. Butt? BAM! Then hand, wrist, elbow, hip... BAM, BAM, BA BAM!
Teenagers looked on in disgust, embarrassment, and poorly concealed mirth. My poor children came racing toward me yelling, "Maaaaaaaaamaaaaaaaa!!!"
But you don't know this. Here is where every middle aged, less than perfectly fit reader (I'm pretty sure that's all of you) needs to prepare to pump your fist...
Babies, Sugars, Darling devoted readers...
I popped up like a crocus in 80 degree Virginia February. Sprang to my feet! Lazarus didn't heal so quickly or so well. Up I went and skated toward the children, humble smile on my face. Kapow!
"Mama, are you OK?!?" they fearfully chorused.
Big loving grin from Mama full of reassurance and love.
"No," I calmly and affectionately replied in a voice that oozed, "More peanut M&M's anyone?"
Confused by the communication dissonance they tried again, "Mama, are you OK?"
"No, sugars. I'm not OK. I may have broken something. A couple of somethings." Big loving smile.
By this time we had made it to our seats. In case anyone was still watching I lovingly patted both of their heads with the arm I could move and did an inventory of the throbbing parts, the screaming parts, the trembling parts, and the completely numb parts.
"Sugar lumps, this is Mama's game face," more sing-songy Stepford Mama voice. "See it? Isn't it impressive? Now we gotta get the hell outta here and fast because I'm not going to be able to keep this game face on for long, lumpkins. K?"
God bless those kids. Those little boogers hustled like our bumpkin ancestors around the still when cousin Clem gave the emergency whistle generations (one) ago. We booked it out of that skate palace.
My knee was slipping out of joint. One of my hips was locked. My elbow was on fire. I couldn't bend a wrist. But I smiled at the kids and sighed contentedly. Truth is: I couldn't breathe without yelping so I made the yelps sound like happiness. That's what I'm telling myself at least.
"Yip. Yip. Yip!" Toward the door we aimed.
We were almost out the door and no one seemed to be noticing us. Release was within 25 feet. I was feeling the relief of being almost free to limp, whine, and get little kisses on my wrist when I came face to face with a man crazier than I am.
This man was a well-dressed otherwise sane appearing man in his 50's. We overheard him coming in saying, "The doctor says I gotta' get more exercise so here I am."
I passed him many times in the rink watching him conservatively skate and Yeti-ing out the curves. He could have been the dad or grandad of all but five of us in there.
I was so close to escaping with a teensy bit of dignity and then... we make eye contact. I'm hoping he hadn't seen me fall. I gave him the last wattage of my game face.
I telepathically say, "Man, I was considerate enough not to make eye contact with you on those curves. Give me a break here, sir."
He smiles at me. A real smile. A real, shocked smile.
His smile says, "Good God, Woman! I was getting ready to dial the paramedics. How on Earth did you pop up like that? You. Are. AMAZING. I admire you. But more than that... Woman, I fear you."
I nod with the last grace I have and I walk out head held high, my limp now obvious with two little hustling, slack-jawed munchkins at my side pretty much holding me up.
"Feels so good, when you’re doing all the things that you want to do.
Get the best out of life, treat yourself to something new.
Keep your head up high in yourself. Believe in you. Believe in me.
Having a really good time. I’m not complaining
And I’m still wearing a smile if it's raining.
I got to enjoy myself regardless.
I appreciate life. I’m so glad I got mine.
"So I like what I see when I’m looking at me
when I’m walking past the mirror.
Ain't worried about you and what you gonna do.
I’m a lady so I must stay classy.
Got to keep it hot, keep it together if I want to get better
You see I wouldn’t change my life, my life’s just….."
Here are some links for ya.
"Just Fine" My girl, the majestic Ms. Blige working it.
The cross over instructional video. I'm thrilled to say that I look even less Yeti-like than this video. Bring it!
Oh, and I am the luckiest gal ever. Just some sore muscles and an impressively bruised elbow. Fear me, Baby.