Ta- Daaa!

Confession: I am a really odd dreamer. I can’t watch television before bed, or clips from shows, commercials, etc. will appear in  a mad-hatter dream sequence montage. Couple this strange sleeping issue with the oddities that pregnancy and deployment introduce to dreamland and we end up with dreams like last night’s fiasco. Before bed, like a good ‘Merican, I watched the Olympics. I prayed for my husband before bed and tried to find a position where my belly could be cushioned and my foot could be elevated simultaneously (I was inspired by a floor routine from a Russian gymnast). What occurred next just furthers my thesis that prenatal vitamins are a form of crazy pills.

Soon after I dreamed that my husband was searching for gold coins that bore the Olympic rings dating from 1988 to 2012, but was unsuccessfully trying to locate 2000’s coin. There were James Bond chases and TSA issues, as well as a few kicks to my belly- which were inspired by real events at the time. All things considered, it could have been worse. I could have dreamed my husband had to don a glittery leotard and do a routine on the uneven bars. (Shudder) I think I’d prefer him skydiving in the Queen’s pink dress. Worst- I could have been in the leotard doing a routine with my Santa-silhouette. My 8 year old self who aspired to be an Olympic gymnast would be devastated.

There are always exceptions, but I’d say about 90% of little girls who watch the Olympics become amazingly enthralled with gymnastics. 4 years ago my youngest niece spent several days in a one-piece bathing suit doing acrobatics in the living room, determined to be an Olympian. With 4 younger brothers and 2 dogs to dodge, she may have a better shot at the hurdles. Seeing that little blue swimsuit flutter as she spun and summer-saulted brought back great memories.

I distinctly remember a scene from the 1988 games. A small, blonde American performed a balance beam routine. She gracefully flipped and turned…and then FELL, hurting herself. The replays were frequent and I was understandably horrified. Wide-eyed, I asked my mother what she was going to do.  “Just watch.” She stood to her tiny feet, whipped her arms up into the air into a “V”, pointed her chin to the sky, and hit what I know to be the “ta-daaa” pose. She later took home medals after another performance. The world remembered her fall, but I remembered how she got up.

At the time my younger brother was a human tornado, constantly running and falling. Over the course of the Olympic events of 1988, we were taught that when we fall we are to get up and do the ‘ta-daa!’ unless we are severely bleeding from the head. When a flying flip from the arm of the couch goes badly, one does not need to pause and whimper to see who is looking before commencing into dramatics. One needs to assume everyone is watching and proudly hit the proper pose.

Now that my son is gathering his bearings as he runs full speed through his second year of life, he happens to fall a lot. I have not taught him “ta-daa”, but I do clap and chee as I tell him to get up. He usually grins or whines just a bit, and then continues on his way. This was a bit awkward at a playdate when my son watched another boy fall off of a chair. He said, “Yay!”tot his playmate. My fellow mother was not offended- thank goodness.

Sometimes when we fall, it seems that people are cheering about it. It may be that they are too quick to cheer; some falls take some time for proper recovery. Other times there really are those who would cheer for others at your expense. Then there are mothers in various forms of hysteria covering their faces and writhing in their seats as they watch their children reach for greatness. (I now think the degree of difficulty  coincides with a mother’s likelihood to lose her mind watching the routine. I found myself much more jumpy and aware of how close heads were to cracking this year.)

Last night the petite American gymnasts bounced all over the floor, and all of them were penalized for going out of bounds. (Hmm…check the springs.) A few competitors lost their balance on the beam. They hopped up, continued, and stuck the landing.

 The Olympics provide a valuable lesson to us all—when things don’t go well, don’t limp away in shame as the world watches. When possible, stand proudly and throw those hands up. You may not have done perfectly or even your best, but the end of a failed routine is definitively marked and scored after the dismount pose.

As I look

at these amazing athletes, it’s easy to see mistakes in a routine. Still, there’s something in me that wants to cheer when I see a competitor victoriously throw hands up. At my present life state I am more likely to get ‘beamed’ than to maintain balance in my daily routine; I have a feeling today will be full of “ta-daa”s but thankfully, no leotards.Image

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