Sunday, December 7, 2008

Family Circus

 

The first time Monkey saw this thing, erected on the lawn in front of the entrance to the apple-picking-train-and-pony-riding-goat-petting-hay-climbing-llama-camel-ostrich-andwhothehellrememberswhatelse-watching-ridiculously-overpriced farm she was four and a half and fierce. She said she wanted to fly, and we paid for the lesson. She went on the little practice trapeze, and decided the big one was too scary. Then, after watching for a while, and, admittedly not without some gentle maternal nudging (because I can never pass up an opportunity to help her plow through another risk aversion block), she undecided about the scary and started climbing the ladder.

Ever since she was a tiny baby, with every stage of her development she seemed to me so grown, and very soon so independent. So mature. Grown up. At four and a half she seemed big, you know? Grown kid. She still seems that way to me, again and again with every milestone. You'd think I'd learn sometime, but I just don't seem to. Except once in a while, when the world stops for a second and I see just how little she is. Her climbing that long-long ladder was one of those times. The ladder illustrated to me, with the help of physical distance and laws of geometry how tiny she was, and how high she had to climb.

It was all perfectly safe-- harnessed from A to Z, even on the ladder, someone holding a safety line. I watched, so proud of my little girl, holding my breath just a little. I think they had to hold her up to the trapeze, I don't think she had the height then to stand on the platform and hold on to the trapeze at the same time. And then they let her go, and she flew.

We had to go back week after week that year. Before too long, maybe even the very next time, thanks to her love of gymnastics, she was doing knee hangs. Soon after it was upside down splits, and then all kinds of combinations. The girl was in love. She vowed to be back next fall.


(pst.. this pic is from this year, but you get the idea)

Between the vow and next fall her brother died. By the time fall rolled around I was somewhat functional, sometimes. We went back to the farm, but the contraption wasn't there. Eventually we heard where it was hanging out, and we tried to go, once, but it was closed just then, and I never got my act together to try again.


So this year, literally the day before the Cub was born, a friend forwarded an email about how the very people who taught Monkey to fly had a camp in a new location near us. And because the camp was undersubscribed, they were letting in first and second graders. So one thing to another, and Monkey and one of her classmates spent a week learning circus arts. At the end there was a concert. And because we are not right now talking about the concert, all I will say about it is that next year Monkey is going to this camp for two weeks, and the thing is worth every penny.

After the concert there was a trapeze demonstration. And Monkey said she wanted to try a catch. What's a catch, you ask? Well, let's start with the other side of the trapeze thingie, shall we? It looks like this:

 


See those swing-looking thing there, and no ladder to get to them? Yeah. So a catcher sits there, and swings at the same time as the trapeze flyer, who lets go of the bar completely, and aims for the hands of the catcher. Like so:

 


I caught my breath, and JD caught the shot. The Cub slept through the whole thing, being two weeks old and all.

We went back for lessons a few more times before the trapeze people packed up and went home to warmer climes, promising to come back when our average daily temperature was back to reliable short sleeves range.

Sometime in there I realized that my body hasn't been mine in too long. It wasn't still, but I could do some things now. Swim was my first thought, but seeing as I was still at the time a public health hazard, that was out of the question. But more to the point, I wanted to do something completely and utterly crazy. Something I absolutely positively couldn't do as a pregnant woman. You know where that's going, don't you? Yup.

 




This post is my return to Mel's weekly Show and Tell. For more showing and telling, click right over.

27 comments:

Another Dreamer said...

How neat! And GO you!!!

Caro said...

Wow, brave mum both for having a go and encouraging monkey.

CLC said...

How cool! I don't think I would be brave enough!

Snickollet said...

That looks SO FUN.

Do you know that the Jordan's Furniture off 95 (in Burlington or Woburn or something like that) has a trapeze school inside? Not sure what kind of lessons the offer, etc. but it's a year-round option.

-snick

Kristin said...

How cool...that is absolutely fabulous. Good for you for reclaiming your body.

Catherine said...

I LOVE this! And even though the pic is blurry...that smile on your face is just GORGEOUS!

Ya Chun said...

your daughter is lined up to run off with the circus!

What a great opportunity you both had!

Dora said...

Way cool!

JuliaS said...

Oh my, I so wanna fly too . . . !

Monkey sounds fearless and fun!

Magpie said...

Holy moly! What a cool thing.

loribeth said...

Is this how Monkey got her screen name?? You are both far braver than I...!

littleangelkisses said...

Holy Moly! That looks like SO MUCH FUN! WOW!!

areyoukiddingme said...

There's nothing like flying! Awesome!

k@lakly said...

Epic!!! My stomach gets queazy just looking at the pic!

Lindsay said...

You two are awesome! I would soooo do that! :) There's something very freeing about taking a risk like that. Kuddos...

christina(apronstrings) said...

how brave of you and monkey!!! though, i've never doubted that either of you were brave.
xoxo

Bon said...

oh wow, Julia. i caught my breath.

LAS said...

This is so cool!! I would love to try this!

superlagirl said...

So, so cool.

Sam said...

am late for Show and Tell this week!! you crazy woman!!! And your daughter is great!!! I don't think that I could even attempt a swing let alone a catch!

Betty M said...

My daughter (5) is campaigning for circus school. It looks amazing - I'm impressed you did it.

Lollipop Goldstein said...

GO YOU! I mean, yeah, it was cool to see the Monkey, but much cooler to see her mama up there trying it too.

I tried it once when I was in 8th grade. I thought I was going to be fine and then got up to the platform and cried and cried. The instructor only spoke French and he kept telling me the only way down was on the trapeze. I couldn't speak well enough to argue back. So I had to do it. And then, like an idiot, I decided to try it again and we had a repeat of the whole crying scene. They didn't let me go on the trapeze a third time :-)

momofonefornow said...

That is so completely awesome!!

I don't think I would have done it. You rocked it out!

Tash said...

there's a similar school near my house, and I'm tempted. For ME, that is.

Amelie said...

wow, so cool.

Coggy said...

That's cool. I'm impressed at how fearless Monkey is. Kudos to you for flying too!

c. said...

I realize this comes a week late, but just wanted to say that looks like sooo much fun!