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  • Kelly Marks

Hula Hooping

I don’t think anyone relishes the idea of confessing to being childish, but I’ll go ahead and tell on myself. You know I have a very competitive side; well it reared its ugly head several years back.


Madi was in preschool, and there was to be a class party. A couple of moms took it upon themselves to do almost all of the planning, and it irritated a couple of us. We would have brownies because THEY didn’t want cupcakes. The theme would be the beach because THEY didn’t want something else.


Isn’t it funny? If they did that today, I would be so thrilled for someone else to be doing the work that I would try to sneak out of the whole project and run away before I was asked to do anything. Apparently I wasn’t to that point yet. I wasn’t seething, but I was working my way up to it. As the planning meeting continued and these two moms discussed the games they wanted to be played, one of them picked up a hula hoop and started it ringing around her waist in perfect rhythm. I had never been able to do it, but I decided right then and there that if SHE could do it, then I certainly could learn. So I worked until I mastered it. It’s a shame I don’t take that same attitude and apply it to something meaningful!


I haven’t thought of hula hoops for a long time. I have been too busy trying to find other parents willing to do all the planning and implementation of school events instead of having to do it all myself. I totally get that old admonishment, “Be careful what you wish for”. But the other day I was walking with a friend of mine, and I honestly have no idea what the conversation was about, but she held her arms out in front of her and said, “You are only in charge of whoever is in YOUR hula hoop… namely you…your attitudes, choices, responses. You are not in charge of anyone outside of that.”


My first thought was I’ve never used a hula hoop as a unit of measure, but I nodded and agreed because logically I knew it was true. The more I thought about it though, the more sense it made.


How many times do we wish our children (at any age) would say this or wouldn’t do that? Our spouses…dear heavens, that’s a loaded gun right there. Paul is a total wild card; I never know what he is going to say or do.


A woman who also happens to be a great friend was tutoring with us for the SAT. She came in for work one day, and Paul asked if she’d gotten a haircut. When she replied that she had, Paul said, “It looks better.” Better? BETTER?


(That is merely one example from Paul, for a complete list please email.)


At the time I was horrified. What must she think of me? This was my husband; this would reflect on me. Now I look at it, and after I think Bless his heart, I realize that even though we are married, he’s outside my hula hoop. I’m sure I’ve said things that have made him cringe, but I’m outside his hula hoop too.


Why do we try to control everything and everyone? What if we just let what happens happen? Wouldn’t life be a lot better if I worried more about myself and less about everyone else. Maybe I’d have more time and energy to work on what’s going on INSIDE my own hula hoop - which by the way, if that preschool mom is reading this, is still ringing around my waist steadily.





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