As TinyTuna continues her march through sixth grade, she has done so with a fairly incredible attitude. Keep in mind the child changed schools, changed school districts and dove head-first into the murky waters of (scary music dum dum DUM!!!) Middle School. Surprisingly, and more importantly, thankfully, she is actually happy despite her somewhat crazy schedule. She has made friends, she enjoys going from class to class, and she likes her teachers. She only has one complaint: Gym.
Being the maternal unit, it is my job to be chief cheerleader for all nouns that revolve in her life. Don't want to go to the Doctor? It's ok!! You want to be healthy!! Rah, Rah, Rah!!! Somebody being mean to you at school? It's ok!! Not everybody will be your best friend!! Remember all the other friends you have!! Rah, Rah, Rah!!! Don't like carrots? Tough luck! Eat them anyway!! Rah, Rah, Bwah Ha HA!!! Don't like gym? .......... errrrr......
I need a GPS device to locate my Rah Rah for this one, because Tuna-style gym hatred is entirely genetic. Oh how I hated gym. Hated. Hated. Hated. Unfortunately, my hatred for gym never got me out of class. Sad to say, my hatred and I were forced to show up every day and become "active" in the great out-of-doors in the requisite shorts and t-shirt. Within 45 seconds the entire class would be shivering because our gym-approved tennis shoes had already reached utter saturation because we were playing in a field that hadn't seen a lawnmower in three solid months. Mitten factoid: When it's 8:30 am and gym time in our fair state, you're either playing on a grassy slip-and-slide, or an ice rink. There is no in between.
I did what I could to compensate for my hated. When we had our soccer unit, I managed the amazing feat of being goalie for 3 weeks straight. "You all run around, and I'll stand here and protect the goal." I wasn't so dumb.
Tennis was different. With no goalie position, and having my suggestion of being the chair umpire shot down, my hatred and I had to be a little more resourceful. As a class we would learn a new concept, like forehand, or backhand, and then have to use that concept exclusively in gameplay. Have you ever played an entire game of tennis BACKHAND? It just doesn't work. Luckily my hatred and I teamed up with another sixth grader and her hatred, and we played mixed doubles. We had but one rule: The ball could never touch the ground. Volley after volley we sent the ball to the moon and back, and laughed hysterically the entire time. The teacher was NOT amused.
So, when TinyTuna says she hates gym, I want to tell her that I hated gym too, but instead I manage a weak, "Oh, it's not so bad..." and hope she changes the subject. Because for some of us, the gym-loving gym is recessive. I'll have to direct her to Great-Grandmother Tuna or one of her Church Auntie Tunas, who thought Gym was all that and a bag of chips.
But carrying on the Tuna genes isn't all that bad. TinyTuna can thank her father for having the audacity of hair that was naturally curly -- an UNHEARD of (and unfair, I might add) trait on the Tuna side. She can thank me for super blue eyes and extremely long legs. And then, of course, there is the singing.
This past Sunday the torch was officially passed to TinyTuna as she got up in front of everybody and chanted the Psalm. This might not seem like such a big deal, but since it is generally the function of some high school chorister, I'm basically "on call" every week, in case one of them decides not to show, or is sick, or just never got around to learning it. Now that TinyTuna is on board, I know for a fact I am off the Holy hook for the next seven years. Rah! Rah! Rah!!! TinyTuna was well-prepared for her debut, wasn't nervous, and didn't make a mistake.
Her proud mom knew she did a pretty damn good job for an 11-year old, and she got several nice comments from the congregation. The fact that a group of grownups took the time to tell her what a nice job she did is part of the genetic makeup of a core group of very caring and special people.
Perhaps the nicest thing I heard wasn't said to either of us directly, but was sent in an email to GramTuna. It read, "It's fun watching TinyTuna grow up. She probably doesn't know we fell in love with her when she was born."
Yeah, I teared up at work.
It was genetic.