A couple of weeks ago Chloe announced that she came in second place in the Push-Up section of the Presidential Fitness test at her middle school. (“Some girl who does gymnastics came in first.”) She explained how many of the other kids (both boys and girls) were not able to actually execute a “true” push-up for as many repetitions as she and this other strong-armed gymnast were able to achieve.
I can’t tell you how proud this made Scott, who virtually strutted about the house, proclaiming his daughter’s arm strength, then asking her to “drop and do twenty” to demonstrate to her brothers and the rest of us just how physically amazing she is!
The effect was quite predictable: Max rolled his eyes and left the room. (Bearing witness to his sister’s achievements is just too much to ask at the end of a long day.) Charlie found a bath towel to spread on the playroom floor, ripped off his shirt (ribs, bones and mini-pecs exposed) and immediately became engaged in his own intense workout session. (Huffing, puffing, counting, sweating.) Genevieve invited everyone to watch and applaud her “Little Mermaid” dance routine from ballet school.
I am always proud of the achievements of any of my children. I too watched with admiration when Chloe easily whipped off twenty pushups, arms bending and pushing smoothly, her body hovering above the floor like a flat plank of lean muscle. I commented that maybe all those tennis lessons had strengthened her arms more than we realized. “Yea, she’s a natural! Look at that form,” exclaimed Scott.
I am indeed proud, I think to myself, as I turn back to stirring my red sauce…but maybe (and this is really pathetic) I am also a teensy-weensy bit jealous of this strong arm spectacle. At one time, in my long ago past, I too was known for my muscular arms, which were made taut and lean by the many hours of ballet and dance classes that filled my days during middle school, high school…and then college.
I wondered, as I stirred, could I get those arms back…at age 45? Would it actually be possible to achieve, once again, those Madonna/Michelle Obama/Chloe Bollinger limbs? Big plans were made in my mind as to how to incorporate sets of push-ups into my weekly post bike ride work-out routines. I’d start out with a modest five and slowly work my way up to a solid thirty. I fantasized about sleeveless dresses and tank tops and how improvement in my overall arm strength would assist me in my inversions during yoga classes. My husband would surely notice. there might even be a few family show-and-tell moments. “Look how strong Mommy’s arms are,” Scott would say, his voice brimming with pride. I could hardly wait until tomorrow to embark on my arm strengthening mission. I stirred and stirred my sauce, visions of sinewy “Chloe” arms stretched upward to the sky….my inspiration.