Jul 3, 2008

Camry's, Cartwheels and Comments - oh my!

Uhhhhh....I just wanted to mention in case you didn't see it, that I had 55 comments yesterday. Yep, 55.

And it was just about Catfish King.

Imagine if I had written about Red Lobster. Sweet mercy. We'd have had to close this place down (as my grandpa used to say...I don't know what it means, but it sounds right to use it right now.)

By the way, I would like to go on record as saying do not - under any circumstances - try to track down a Catfish King. Do you remember loving a restaurant when you are a child and it being one of your favorite places in the world to go to........and then you grow up?

Well, it's kinda like that. It's kinda like McDonald's. But with hushpuppies.

So I'm sitting here with my family watching So You Think You Can Dance. Because obviously, we think we can. And I'm wondering this...

How do you spot this kind of talent, that these kids have, in your child?

You know what I mean, right? You've seen those kids on every episode of American Idol whose parents have told them they could sing. But clearly...

Or what about that kid on the last row, far right, at the local dance recital. Who picks their nose and pulls at their tights the entire time?

I mean, how do you know when you're raising a...
Venus and Serena Williams?
Or just a Melba and Rita Williams?

A Micheal Jordan?
Or a Marvin Jordan?

I mean, Remi fell into the pool and didn't drown. So that's something, right? Should I start booking a room for Beijing right now - or should I give it a while?

I mean, how do you know?

And here's why I ask. As we were sitting here watching these kids lift their body weight into the air we couldn't help but be reminded of the time I TRIED TO LIFT MY BODY WEIGHT INTO THE AIR.

It was 1991 and all I wanted was to be a cheerleader. Problem was, I couldn't' do a back flip. Or a round-off. Or a cartwheel.

Fine. I couldn't' even jump. There I said it. Happy?

What I'm trying to say in a delicate fashion is that there was never anything but immediate gravity felt when I tried to lift myself up off the ground. Nothing, nada. Just cement. No air. I couldn't get "air" (as the kids would say.)

Now, there are many parts to this story - yes indeedy there are.

I could go into the part where my mom begged me not to try out for cheerleader "because you can't jump, baby. Nobody will be honest with you like your momma. And the truth is - you can't get off the ground. Have you tried to jump in front of a mirror?"

But I can't go there. My therapist says I'm not ready yet.

Or there was the instance when the cheerleading captain took a look at me practicing and actually said, "OH MY GOSH I hope you make it. You could totally be the bottom of our pyramid."

That should have been a tip-off.

But I think it was that dagblasted cartwheel. That thing has always been the thorn in my side. I tried to turn one years later. My family actually has it on video camera. I fell in the middle of it and screamed so loud that the nosy neighbor called from down the street to see if everyone was okay. My mom actually told her, "Yes, Melissa's just trying to turn a cartwheel again." The neighbor simply said, "Ohhhhhhh, really?"

See? Even she felt sorry for me.

It really was pitiful.

Until one day.
Picture it:
Dallas, Texas.
Outside the Steak-n-Ale restaurant.

The place is packed. We've just eaten a good meal with my parents. The Attorney General and I are walking back to our car when my dad makes this offer, "Hey Melissa, I will buy you a car this weekend if you can turn a cartwheel for me right here in this parking lot."

We freeze.

We need another car.
We only have one.
I look at the Attorney General, "I can't do it."
He sweetly replies, like any newlywed would, "You better run the length of this parking lot and at least give it your best shot."

But on cement? What if something snaps? Like the cement?

But Lord, help us, let me tell ya. I went for it. There was nothing standing in between me and that teal green Honda Accord that I wanted. Nothing. And lo and behold you ain't never seen a fat girl move so fast.

I took off across that parking lot like I was on fire.

I ran till I almost passed out - just for the sheer reason that the longer I ran the longer I had to think this thing through.

And finally, I just went for it.

And a more perfect cartwheel you have never seen.

I mean it was nothing like those kids on SYTYCD. I mean, they can withhold their body weight. But my parents gave me a reprise just for the sheer effort. And also, for the sheer enjoyment of getting to watch it unfold before their very eyes.

I would also like to go on record as saying, your legs don't have to go completely over your head for you to feel a sense of accomplishment. (uhhh...that sounded weird.)

So there you have it folks. I did a cartwheel. And the very next weekend my parents pulled up in a new teal green Honda Accord. Now before you go getting all "you are so spoiled" on me...we are still driving the thing. Only it sits about 2 inches from the ground, has no AC, the back window won't roll up and it looks like we are smuggling bodies across the border for cash.

I will never be able to turn a cartwheel again. Never. It was a once in a lifetime kind of thing. I can admit that. But that leaves me wondering how I, as a new parent, can spot a talent in my child?

I mean, just last night she came out of the bathroom with no pants or diaper on, said "Come on, Poppy" and proceeded to sing and dance with him while singing "Shake, shake, shake. Shake your booty." Now y'all...that's a gift. Unfortunately it's not at all the gift I would prefer her to have, but at least it's something.

Although I've made her father promise to never have her strip down at a steak restaurant and serenade us with a KC and the Sunshine Band song. But you never know when a girl will need a Camry.


Swirl Girl said...

I love this post! We really do think alike! I am thoroughly amazed with SYTYCD...and think it is much harder than Idol in that this is physical....I am a wanna be dancer. My brain goes one way (always the right way) and my body never grew gracefully enough (a kinder gentler way of I am fat and clutzy) to go that way.

Go Joshua and Twitch! They blow me away!

PS- tell your parents that I need a new car too, and will do a round-off back hand spring for it!

monica @ transplanting me said...

i never watched sytycd while in the states and now i can't get it. i would like to get it now... i think i would enjoy it.

i tried a cartwheel not too long ago - well maybe 7 yrs ago. gravity is not kind to a 30 year old big chested girl trying to get her feet off the ground. i had a little success, but it hurt. alot. things bounced. hard. i don't think i'd have gotten a car.

Anonymous said...

I am also cartwheel challenged. For little league cheerleading tryouts I had to do a cartwheel and a roundhouse something or other...and flubbed them both. I think I only made it because my mom could sew and alter the uniforms.

Colleen said...

I can't dive. I swim like a fish, but dive like a rock. I am jealous that you were able to live out your dream, even if it was just once.

Perhaps your daughter is meant to be the next sequin-clad-disco-band-lead-singer. Everyone needs to make a living, right?

ugagirl30 said...

Congrats on the once in a lifetime cartwheel. I wish someone would offer me a chance to win a car by doing a cartwheel.

I often wonder how these people who hurl each other and themselves around and who sing beyond belief at a young age learn that they can do those things. My seven yo, mohawked, dirt bike riding nephew can break dance. Literally, he can do all those spins and everything. Of course he is not bigger than a minute! If he really wanted to impress me, he would spin on the spikes of his blue mohawk. That would impress me. I might buy him a toy car for that.

Mar said...

Great post! It's good to see that you can pull it off when you really need to :) I will be back to read more, love the design!

Deb said...

your killin me here. lets hope remi finds some other talent besides the one that screams "pole dancer" ;)

thanks for coming by my blog! i will definitely keep coming by yours and stalking you as well (hey! i like tennessee just fine)

Anonymous said...

Good Law Mel this is just as funny the second time around! I still have to say your readers will one day have to hear about the "baby, you can't jump story" but I really don't think it will be the same without your facial expressions!! Tooo Funny Girl!!! Love you!

Kimberly J

Rhonda said...

I can turn the most fabulous cartwheels. Or so I thought, until one day I tried to show my future husband (aka: jerk) and he laughed until he almost peed his pants! Then he showed me what I looked like.
I'm not gonna' lie to you. It really hurt my feelings. I now understand those people who think they can sing and then cry and swear and tell Simon that he doesn't know ANYTHING about talent, when he tells them, rudely, that they in fact cannot sing.
Your mother was right to save you from total humilation! Imagine your therapy bill if you had tried out? Sigh.

Connie said...

Melissa you are too funny- I too share your inability to turn a cartwheel. I have done it once or twice but never consistently enough to have tried out for cheerleading either.(*sniff)
Regarding recognizing your children's talents...Of my 5 kids, I have always tried to see their "giftedness" on an individual basis. You see, I believe that every child is "gifted" in some way...and it is up to us to discover it and encourage and nurture that "gift". (whether it's athletic, musical, academic, etc.)

StitchinByTheLake said...

You made me laugh out loud! The picture of you..... But girl I would so have done the same thing. :) As for the question, don't bother searching for her talent. Sooner or later it will magically appear. God gives good gifts and whatever hers are He, and she, will show you when the time is right. Blessings, marlene

Heather W said...

HUGE fan of SYTYCD!!! I am amazed at the talented kids they have. I could only wish my daughter or son, for that matter, could be that talented one day. Don't worry I am not going to turn into Brittany Spears' mom.

I also thought that my junior year in high school I would tryout for the cheerleading squad. What was I thinking? Yeah, I was loud but talented...NO. Needless to say I didn't make the squad. Heck I didn't even make it off the ground.

Angela said...

LOL! I love this story. Your Dad sounds like such a great guy!

When I was a kid I was in gymnastics. It was my favorite sport and I wanted to BE Mary Lou. But alas, my skills were more average than elite. A few years ago, I tried to turn a cartwheel just to see if I still could. And the answer would be, sort of. As in, I only "sort of" hurt myself... but it was amazing to realize I could still sort of do one. Of course now that I'm 33 I would probably kill myself if I tried!

Glad you got a car out of it, anyway!

Trish said...

So we are obsessed with SYTYCD too. In fact so obsessed that we have to hillbilly tivo it (the VCR)
Anyways I hate those cartwheels too, I wanted to be a cheerleader really bad too I tried out in 7th grade and didn't make it, honestly at that age, I think everyone should make it! Well, I was foolish enough to try out again, only I waited until I was a senior in high school. I made it this time, but let's just say only because all of the "real" cheerleaders quit because they didn't like the new coach:) my best friend and I thought hey what the heck this is our only chance, we can put up with her for a few months:) so we did!
well my dad never said if I could do a cartwheel I would get a new car, but while driving he said if I could spot a buck, you know the bambi kind, I would get a buck, you know the green kind:) well I did and I was given a whole dollar! It bought a lot back then!!!
Thanks for making me laugh, you should really come up to our church and speak, we could use a revival:)

Deanna said...

My son just finished swimming lessons and I was so impressed with his abilities that I decided that he could skunk Michael Phelps. Wanna share a room in Beijing?

Sherri said...

I am seeing some great talents coming forth in my kids!! I think my daughter could almost compete as a world record holder hula-hooper. My little man will be a wrestler!!!

Thanks for visiting my blog yesterday!! I hope to post more of the adoption story tonight!

Sunshine said...

I. Can't. Take. It.

I've totally got the tears! That is some goood stuff. I could picture it all and I can totally feel ya on not being able to "get air". In my mind, I can totally do it...ALL. And in my mind, I'm 15 and 98 lbs.

You are so awesome.

Heather said...

My hubby thinks he can turn our (recently turned five years old) kiddo into the next Tiger Woods. I'm rooting more for one of the Williams sisters (Venus and Serena, not Melba and Rita). So what does our kiddo seem to be showing a talent for instead of golf or tennis? Gymnastics. And her with a mother who couldn't even complete a cartwheel for a new car. Who'd've thunk it? :)

Loving your blog! I think I'm going to add it to my blogroll!


Robin said...

I also tried to learn to do a cartwheel for cheerleading try-outs when I was in the 7th grade. I actually did learn how, but when I was so rudely not put on the squad I promptly forgot how. I don't even think I could turn one now for a Mercedes SUV.

Hot Tub Lizzy said...

Dang it - you made me piddle!

Anonymous said...

hahahaha.....you certainly have a way of telling a story!

I'm sure you find many other talents in Remi that can earn her a Camry in the future!!!!

Rachel said...

LOL! SO funny! I think I cried for a second there.

But seriously, I am all about catching on to children's talents and encouraging them from an early age. ALL children show certain talents at a young age, and while a young one that loves to paint their nails may not end up being a famous artist, the focus, discipline, and fun that they learn to have with a skill follows them to what they do become.

Seriosuly. I've worked with those kids that start writing pretty decent songs at the age of 12 because they loved to sing. Doesn't mean they are going to be the next Chris Tomlin, but who says they won't?

Just one of my soapboxes. Thanks for gettin me on it...no wait it doesn't take much ;)

LOVE the blog.

Beth said...

Fabulous post! Ya kill me, girl!
Love your blog!

Apple Joos said...

Hey! I'm stopping by from SITS a day late! This post made me crack up because cartwheels have always been my bane. To me, it's the ultimate expression of your happiness and I, for reasons the cruel gods have never explained, am unable. If you could see me now, I'd be doing that weird urban hand thingy that translates to "I completely understand where you're coming from and I, too, feel pain, yo."

Insane Mama said...

YOu are hilarious! I can do cartwheels, and I agree with Apple, to me they represent happiness. Don't get me trying to do flips though!

Lula! said...

How many times do I have to say it? Remi and Caroline MUST be together. They can be a duo...'cause Caroline can sing "What A Mighty God We Serve," AND several tunes by Coldplay, Miley Cyrus, Cyndi Lauper, and Watermark. Talk about diversified, huh?

But we can't let 'em perform naked. Nope. Not an option.

p.s. Not to beat a dead horse, but rather than smuggling cash across the border, can it be Julio's instead? I'm gonna keep asking 'til those little crunchy bits of fabulousness are in my hot little hands. Rev up that green Accord and get it goin'.

MamaLaina said...

I have to admit to having inherited the cartwheel gene, however if I did one now I'd probably give myself a black eye...(life lesson #23985 Things not to do post breast feeding)
Thanks for the giggle. Love your blog!

Anonymous said...

I knew the minute I read "... reminded of the time I TRIED TO LIFT MY BODY WEIGHT INTO THE AIR," that this was gonna be good. I have been sitting here at my desk reading this blog (okay, it's the day before a holiday ... never mind that I always read your blog at work - I need it!) doing my best Tammy Faye Baker impression ... mascara streaming down my face. Some of my co-workers worried I was having a seizure because I was laughing so hard I looked like I was convulsing. Good Heavens, Melissa, you sure can tell a story. I love that about you!


Amy said...

That is too funny! I cannot believe it. I bet your dad was shocked! Can you imagine, dang--I didnt think she could do it!
Anyway-thanks for the comment on my blog!

Melissa said...

My girls can sing "Hit Me Baby One More Time" like nobody's business! MMMHmmmm (Snap) I can spot talent when I see it!
I'm so proud of you, hun! Cartwheel for a Car! It's almost as good as a Jerry Lewis Telethon! You're my hero!

Rene said...

Found you through SITS -- love your blog! I'll definitely be back for more!!

Rene said...

Found you through SITS -- love your blog! I'll definitely be back for more!!

Angela said...

I remember how seductive those teal green Honda Accords were. A girl would do a cartwheel in front of a glorified Sizzlin' at the very least for one of those babies. I'm happy you lived to tell. ;)

Rhea said...

Oh, man, I'd totally attempt a cartwheel for a new car. That's so awesome. Your dad totally rocks.

I think it's time to start practicing again though, since the green accord is on it's last leg.

Your daughter sounds just adorable. My Remy won't perform for anyone...unless he thinks you aren't looking. hehe

I can see natural athletic ability in him too...he's gonna buy me a new house one day. :o)

Katie Says said...

oh my goodness! You have no idea how loud I just laughed reading this. You are a great story teller!

I wish I could help you on knowing how to spot your child's talent...for I have no children. I say let her find it. She will know what she is passionate about... ;)

ann said...

And what if there is great talent, but the child doesn't have the self discipline or competitive spirit or whatever it might take to turn that talent into....$$$? success? notariety? at what price? It may be a unique combination of talent in the child and push from the parent - and the money to find the coaches, the teachers, the pageants, the lessons....

Tracy P. said...

OH MY, that is hilarious. I keep wondering too, because it is a foregone conclusion to my eight-year-old that he will be a major league baseball player. Half of me wonders what age they get over this, and half of me thinks well, that's exactly what all those major league baseball players thought. And I have some fabulous pictures of him in a tutu that could make me a wealthy woman if he makes it big. :-)

And the Chris Rice thing. I am GREEN! We saw him last Nov. and were NOT disappointed! Dude.

Melisa said...

New to your blog. :)

This is such a great post, I was just sitting with my husband watching last season's SYTYCD on MTV and asked him the same thing! We pondered if you just knew or was it parents forcing kids to classes and then seeing they did well and kept them in it.

When I was a child I thought I was going to be a ballerina and dance with Mikhail Baryshnikov. I danced for 13 years and then hit puberty. Nothing ruins a ballet dream like a pair of boobs. But when I think about all the dancing I did, I was never best in the class, I just thoroughly enjoyed it and so my parents let me continue to do it.

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