Death by Cartwheel…My Cruel Dose of Reality


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As summer winds down, changes have been slowly settling in for me. As a family, we’ve been trying to enjoy the warm days outdoors. Recently we found ourselves at a state park with a fishing pond and large, lush-grassy area perfect for gymnastics. (Because hard as we try, we just don’t have “lush-grassy areas” at our house.)

So my 9 year old was playing one of the things she loves to play best: gymnastics, on that inviting lawn. Overcome by a spirit of whimsy, I felt the need to join her… and spontaneously launched into a cartwheel.

A little background. I used to be able to do cartwheels effortlessly. But it’s been a long, long time since I tried to engage in one, and I have a bad hip from a horse injury long ago.   So although I executed my cartwheel nearly flawlessly… it almost killed me. To the tune of a sharp burst of pain in my leg and hip, and a sickening “POP!!” sound. Holy painful, Batman!

Subsequent googling on my phone came up with a diagnosis that matched perfectly, and made sense: hip strain. Which basically means I pulled a muscle. Bad. Dang, it hurt! I seriously could barely walk. This happened on a Saturday. The Saturday before I was supposed to start a new job.

I reeealllly didn’t want to come in to my new place of employment with a severe limp, and an embarrassing story to support it. They’ll have plenty of time to learn about my childish ways at a gradual pace. Let’s not rush in to the awkward over-shares.

So I iced my hip and leg, and stayed off my feet for all 3 days up until my new job started. My first day arrived, and I was able to mask my injury fairly well. I couldn’t walk fast without pain, and the limp showing up again. Although at 5’10” I’m typically the one with the long stride, I had trouble keeping up with my short little boss as we took an introductory tour around the somewhat large campus.

But I’ll survive. I will survive! At least I didn’t BREAK my hip. Eeesh.

How tragic that knowing how to do something in your past, and still knowing how to do it in your head, do not necessarily translate to your current body being able to execute it.  Although now that I’ve had a couple of weeks to heal, I don’t believe I’m going to go down without a Cartwheel Fight! Just not ready to cash that chip in. Next time I’ll just do a couple of stretches first, right?

Then there’s my new job. Although this was a change I desired and chose for myself, it has brought with it a whoooole different atmosphere than I was accustomed to. I now work at a university. The energy of college kids swirling around is fantastic, but alas… I feel as if this has rained down an “ice-bucket-challenge” style dose of cruel reality on me.

As a busy mom who works full time, with limited circumstances to exercise, one thing I’m most excited about is that I can now use the university’s huge recreation center to work out during my lunch break. My first week, I headed over for a personal tour of the facility. Delivered by a 19 year old. And riddled with numerous “Maam”s.

Now this probably is one of those girl things that guys don’t get, but I hate being called “maam”. It makes me feel incredibly old. Well, as old as I am. Which I don’t appreciate being made to feel.

So I’ve gone from working at a place where 70+ yr olds wandered the halls freely, calling me “kid” and speaking fondly of their great-grandchildren… to mingling with a bunch of kids (who let’s face it, could be MY kids) calling me “maam”.

It will take a little adjustment on my part, this cold cruel dose of reality. But life means change, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

*o*    *o*    *o*

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About COMtnMom

Hi, I'm Tami! Writer, Influencer, and mom of two who loves travel, the outdoors, staying active, photography, reading books, and eating desserts. We are pretty much always planning our next trip to Disney World.


  1. Ouch! Sometimes I look back at some of the things that I used to do as a kid (such as jumping from the top of the swingset, for example) and realize that those things may not have been the smartest things to do then, but I definitely wouldn’t try them now. It is a wonder I survived childhood with only one broken bone! I hope you heal up quickly and completely! And I hope you enjoy your new job, too! Change can be good! 🙂

    • Thanks Steve! You speak nothing but truth. 🙂 We may not be as pliable as we used to be, but we are certainly wiser!

      And I appreciate the words of encouragement… I do think the change will be good. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Good luck with the new job. My husband and I have both worked at universities. Great place to work once you get use to the culture.

    • That’s cool… thanks, Mae!

      I’m now on week 3, and can see they truly do have their own culture. At least on the IT end (where I work), it appears things are in a constant state of flux. I think it will be fun to try and keep up! 🙂

  3. Maybe the kid is from a military family or from the south. My husband maam’s anyone who is higher on the food chain than him at work or as a sign of respect for women that we are dealing with for transactions (like the service industry). It’s part of his military culture that transfers to the civilian world. Kid was probably just being respectful 🙂 Just another way to interpret is so you don’t feel “old.”

    • Ok, so you make a very good point, and bring up an interesting debate. The “maam”er was a beautiful GIRL! I wonder if that contributed to my not liking it… it made me feel so SENIOR to her, when it doesn’t feel that long ago when I would see someone like her as my peer/friend. Huh.

      You are right (and others have told me, too) that it’s meant as a sign of respect. I’m not sure what my problem is. 😉

  4. >Sigh< as much as it is a sign of respect, being old enough to command respect is the real kicker. That first ma'am is a shocker.

    • I can so identify with your reaction to being called “maam” for the first time! My first experience was a grocery carry-out boy and a LONG time ago…..but it sticks with me like it just happened. 😉 I knew it was respectful and that’s nice, but REALLY?! As manners have become rare, and as I get older, I can now appreciate it. One thing for sure, age is SO relative and you ARE “just a kid”. Enjoy your new job…..I think you will fit in just great!

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