Monday, May 28, 2012

Aqua Emasculation

"Sure, why not.  It will probably be fun."  I said when Amanda asked if I wanted to join her and her mom in a "Water Circuit" class at our gym (LifeTime Fitness).  I'd taken several other fitness classes there (Sculpting Yoga, Spinning, Barbell Strength, etc), all of which I had enjoyed, and I like trying new things, especially regarding exercise.

The class was held in approximately 1/3 of the gym's very large pool, the rest of which was used by families playing in the water with their kids.  And this entire pool is housed in a gigantic enclosed area.  This area also includes a separate (and busy) lap pool with athletes conquering laps, and is adjacent to two hot tubs, a sauna (with a big window to the pool), and high windows all around, so people riding stationary bikes on the upper floor of the gym could look down onto the pool area.  The picture of the pool below is at a different LifeTime Fitness, but ours is very similar.

I knew ahead of time what the concept was, I knew where the location was, and I pretty much knew what I was getting into.  Also, I am quite secure in my manhood, am not easily embarrassed, and as I mentioned in the beginning, I had valid reasons for doing this.  Yet, even with all of these encouraging factors, as the class started, I began to quickly realize what I bad idea this really was.  Not only was I the sole male participant, but I was also the 2nd youngest participant in the group, with my wife being the youngest.  To make matters even worse, the moves that we were performing were, let's just say less than masculine.

Not long into it, I debated whether to inconspicuously duck out into one of the adjacent lap lanes, but then another (significantly older) man joined us as well, and I thought to myself "Damnit, I started this stupid class, so I might as well finish it!  At least I'm not the only male now.  Besides, experiences that encourage humility are good for you, right?"  The more I participated though, the further it progressed from humbling to downright humiliating.  And yes, we used the silly looking floating barbells that are in the above picture.

The only saving graces for the experience are (a) Since we just moved here, we hardly know anyone in this area outside of family, (b) I got to spend some time with two people that I love - my wife and mother-in-law, and (c) If performed with enough vigor, I admit that the class did provide a decent workout too.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Prophetic Daughter?

I was having a bad moment as a dad yesterday evening.  Amanda was at her sister's bachelorette party, and I was flying solo.  I was watching "The Smurfs" movie with the kids, and there was a scene where Neil Patrick Harris' character observes a young couple with their toddler son walking between them, after which the dad picks him up and kisses him.  His character then realizes how despite life's frustrations he is content with the anticipation of being a father (or something like that).

As for me, I had gotten frustrated with my own kids during dinner, especially with Emily and Clara for taking so long to eat their soup.  I'm sure there were other things too, such as annoying noises, repeated jokes (for the 100th time), and who knows what else.  Now, watching this scene unfold on the couch (after we finally finished our dinner), I was thinking about how all I do is nag my kids and get annoyed with them.  I am a no-fun, killjoy of a dad.  I suck.

Just then, Emily came over to me and gave me a great big hug, and Clara followed her big sister to do the same.  As both of them were bear hugging me Emily said "Your daughters sure do love you", after which I relied "and I sure do love my daughters."

She moved back to look at me and said "Dad, I know you get frustrated with us sometimes, but God is still proud of you."  Then they went back to watching the movie like nothing happened, and I sat there with my mouth on the floor.  Only God knew how much I needed to hear that just then.  So thank you God, and also thanks to my daughter Emily too.

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