In pilates we lay face up on reformer machines. Our knees up. Lori, our wonderful instructor, explains the movement as she walks by me and shifts my knees to the left.
“You’re crooked.” She says.
As she walks away, my knees to the left, I feel crooked. So I steal a look in the mirror. Sure enough, Lori has my knees and legs perfectly aligned, knees straight up.
How do we get crooked??
I read in the newspaper about a psychologist who did a study and found that we are truly happiest when we are doing something for someone.
Was I happier when I had two in the double stroller, and one on my hip - making me stand crooked? I don’t remember thinking about happiness then. In fact, I’ve blanked out a lot of those years when the kids were little. Recently, a neighbor asked me for a tip on getting a crying baby to sleep. I stared at her. I thought about recommending Benedryl.
“Hmmmm,” I said, “that’s a good question!”
My neighbor laughed and said “Oh, I am just grateful that I have this little one.”
The psychologist in the article said that if we actually think about happiness while we are in the happiness - or so the study found - it all backfires. Whatever we are doing loses its intrinsic value.
I look up “intrinsic.” Something about happening naturally. This seems at odds with the whole Grateful Movement.
We are doing wide leg circles in Pilates and now that Lori has moved me, I feel like I am balancing on my left hip. The circles are not happening intrinsically. I blame it on the hip carry. A lot went crooked when I became a mom.
-my mind: I hated kids who were mean to mine. You know, little three year olds with saucer eyes. I could have killed some of them.
-my judgement: I allowed Hostess treats into lunch bags.
-my control: I yelled when I was supposed to model “inside voice”.
-my stamina: I allowed iPhones at the dinner table on many occasions because I was just too tired, or bent over crooked to fight.
I didn’t go into Momhood like this. I went in as beautiful cursive writing - maybe even calligraphy. But then, suddenly somewhere, I looked back at the pages I had created, and realized I had some intense visual spacial problems. Way, way outside the lines.
Lori has us move to our sides and we have to hook up our free arm to a strap and pull up and down. When I was happy, I think, I used to carry a 40 pound toddler in one arm, and the groceries in the other; all while closing a car door with my hip. But today, I can hardly move the strap without my arm shaking.
Lori pulls my right hip back as she moves by me.
“There.” She says, “Now you’re aligned.”