Saving Grace

I’ve never been a very graceful person. As a little girl I had clunky red shoes that were meant to fix my pigeon toes. They weren’t very effective though because as soon as I was out of my mom’s sight, off they came! My knees were knobby and my balance only so-so. I always had bruises from walking into things and once I sprained my ankle just trying to kick a ball! I got used to it. Ironically, the name “Nancy” actually means “grace”! There were, however, two places growing up where I finally felt graceful. The secret, I discovered, was keeping  my feet off the ground…

The first place was in our pool or anywhere I could swim under water. I’d  zoom through the water doing front flips and back flips. I could twirl and do hand stands. Dad called me his little fish. I felt willowy and elegant and spent a lot of time pretending I was a mermaid princess. Of course, you know, that princesses are never, ever clumsy!

The other place was the one spot I thought I would never feel graceful. Gym class! Most of my grade school career had been spent trying to get out of gym class. I tended to catch balls with my face and when I ran, I tripped on nothing. Then in eighth grade we were introduced to gymnastics. Of course the floor routines (running and flipping) weren’t my thing and the balance beam was out for reasons that should be obvious but the uneven parallel bars….hmmm? They looked interesting! Hanging by my knees from the monkey bars was totally my thing and bar routines were kind of the same. IMG_1661

The teacher taught us some basic moves and we practiced for weeks. Eventually the whole class was ready to put on a gymnastics show for our parents. Guess who was picked to do a routine on the unevens? I  flipped from the bottom bar and swung around the top one. I put one leg over and did another flip. I flew back and forth between bars, up and over and back down. My mother said later that she was scared to death I was going to fall on my head but I was in heaven! I felt so graceful and athletic, something I never felt when I had both feet on the ground!

My gymnastic career ended with the semester. It’s just as well. I probably would have ended up hurting myself. The closest I get to feeling graceful these days is when I’m doing yoga. Years of practice has improved my balance and posture, (heck, I get crazy excited when I’m able to hold a pose on one foot!) but I’m still pretty clumsy. I don’t mind though because I figure I make up for it with small motor abilities. Drawing, painting, handwriting, Pick-Up-Sticks, Jenga, you name it. Plus I can untangle any knot you throw at me. It’s a fair trade. 😊


11 thoughts on “Saving Grace

  1. This made me smile – I could also see myself in it. Well, except for the gymnastics thing. I never conquered anything in gymnastics. I seem to lumber around like a hippo 🙂

  2. I love this post! (Maybe because I am also clumsy in so many ways, and know exactly what you mean about finding the small, exciting ways in which I am not clumsy! Sadly, gymnastics is not that area for me; I once bounced a balance beam off my head.) But you are so right: it’s all about the trade offs!

    • See, that’s why I stayed off the balance beam! I would have had the same results. Nice to know I’m I’m in such good company coordination-wise. ☺️

  3. This was fun to read! I think it is very interesting in life how we find other things to be good at and in your case so many wonderful things!! So yes a fair trade for sure!

  4. I did gymnastics for a few years between about the ages of 8 and 10. I was never brilliant but at one stage we got a male coach who saw something in me and he used to take me aside, while the other kids did floor exercises, and teach me new stuff on the vault and the uneven bars. I loved it. Then he left and the two young girls who replaced him loved floor work. I left soon after. But I doubt I would have gotten far anyway. Like you, I’m on the uncoordinated side. 🙂 Currently, I’m trying to find my non-existent sense of rhythm and grace in order to conquer rowing. 😀

    • Sounds like fun! I wish we had been able to do gymnastics longer than one semester. Good for you with the rowing too. That’s really hard work. Gotta keep challenging ourselves, right?!

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