Full of Grace

The flexibility and agility of my children annoys me.

I’m watching my daughter leisurely sprawl herself across an ottoman at my mother’s home – leg balancing here, another there. Flipping around like a fish. Rolling from tip-toe to heel.

It drives me crazy, because I’m pretty sure that even as a child I couldn’t do more than stand straight so as not to fall.

I was the “awkward” one in ballet class.

Doing simple things like laying on my stomach to play never seemed as comfortable as the other kids made it. Easy. Natural.

I was never, necessarily a huge clutz. But I was never going to be described as graceful. My grandfather used to call me a “claud.”

I think that means “bigger” than a clutz.

My daughter and son are not that way. At least, not that I can tell…yet. My son will jump around and over and through the house like a gazelle while my daughter flitters around with these tiny feet you can barely hear.

And stomp tromp slosh comes Mom.

Maybe grace is overrated.

But I notice that over time my acceptance of my body’s limitations has wavered with my children’s …grace.

Was I ever like this? Is this what my mother saw as she looked at me? Could it be?…

…no, I think this Claud couldn’t have possibly been mistaken for the magical kids floating in my home. Graceful, sprite-like, and angelic.

Ok, maybe not angelic all the time…but you know what I mean.

They are running through the house looking for a missing chick. Never mind the missing chick is plastic, stay with me here…they are RIGHT NOW doing that thing they do, dancing around each other with toys and games and laughter.

Watching them is like an exercise in readying for disaster. I’m waiting for them to crash. To slam into eachother, to stub a toe, to fall and cry.

But I’m noticing more often then not…they are not me. They don’t tromp around the house or bump their tiny shins into sides of tables.

No…right now…they are dancing and giggling. Full of grace.


  1. I only have one, but your writing is beautifully evocative of watching her. She cracks me up, and is also ‘not me.’ In fact one of my fears is of passing on all my prejudices to her. I noticed when we would drive by a Hummer in Hermosa she’d go “ewwww Hummer” and snarl just like me. I decided to cool it a little.

  2. I feel the need to note that just as I hit publish on this piece, my son knocked into my parent’s wine rack, busting bottles all over the floor.



  3. I had similar troubles with coordination as a child. My son has inherited them.

    If he hadn’t, I know I would be envious, too (in the same way I am envious, for instance, of his gorgeous red hair– hair that I now know I must carry the gene for– but in me, that gene is silenced by the code for Mousy Dishwater Blonde).

    But in point of fact, I wish I could be envious of my child’s grace instead of sympathetic to his lack of coordination, and slightly guilty that I’ve passed on my clumsiness.

    (To be clear, I am not meaning in any way to criticize your envy. Like I said, in your position, I would have it too!)

  4. Just stopped by your blog for the first time. What a great post! I am more on the clumsy end myself, as is one of my daughters. And that’s okay, right?

  5. No kids, but my dad totally called me “Grace” whenever I walked into something — wait, he still does. And it’s still ironic.

  6. I have been called Grace, too – with great irony. I thought I was the ballet teacher’s pet, but she was spending extra time with me in self-defense (of her reputation,) I think now, trying to get me past my clumsiness so I wouldn’t embarras my whole class come revue time. Thank you for reminding me of the graceful play of children – and the pratfalls. Grace is highly overrated.

  7. Such a lovely post!

  8. I’m agape watching my daughter out-run her her friends on the soccer field. I was the kid who was always picked last for kickball and softball because of my clear lack of skill and coordination.

  9. What a fun blog! This is my first visit and I will definitely be coming back 🙂

Speak Your Mind