and now, a holiday story from my childhood…

Happy holidays! I hope everyone has a fantastic Thanksgiving. Eat a lot of turkey, tell your family how glad you are to have them around, then fall asleep in a food coma in front of a football game. (Unless it’s the 49rs game. Then stay awake and CHEER FOR THEM!) Today I am feeling truly blessed, and I am so thankful to be sitting on a couch watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with my daughter flopped on top of me oohing and awing over all of the floats, bands, and balloons.

And now, a holiday story from my childhood…

When I was little, there were very few things that could pull me out of bed in the morning. However, if there was a parade on, I would set an alarm to make sure I didn’t miss it. I know that most kids get very excited for parades, so I am not alone, but this story isn’t about my love for the spectacle, it’s about the year I realized I had been fed a line and told a lie, the year my dreams were crushed.

There are key moments in every childhood, one of mine came when I was about 9. I was watching the parade and the announcers said something unwise. They let it slip that part of the parade was only pretend. The fantasy and whimsy was gone. I sat, mouth agape, staring at the screen. Had I really just heard what I thought I had heard? You had to be a specific height with a specific inseam and have the ability to dance to be a Rockette? Drat! There went that secret career ambition; apparently I could not be anything I wanted to be when I grew up. My stubby legs, less than impressive height, and rhythm free feet were completely out of luck. A dream that had started in my little heart at a very young age had been dashed, and I was very, very sad.

Like any person going through the stages of grief, I got angry. Who wanted to be tall, anyway? Long legs were overrated, maybe even unattractive. Dancing was not at all beautiful or interesting. The whole lot of them were lame! Stupid Rockettes. That angry outburst was quickly followed by a moment of acceptance. Who was I kidding? The Rockettes rocked, and I would never, ever, ever be one of them. It was my destiny to be a tiny, uncoordinated, non-dancer.

Many, many years later, I am still wishing I could be one of the long legged girls high kicking in front of Macy’s on national television. I am incredibly thankful that my daughter seems more impressed with the marching bands and drill teams than she was with the famous dance team at the beginning of the affair. Maybe she won’t have the same moment of heartbreaking let down that I had when I was just a bit older than her. It seems likely that she will either be coordinated or musical, so she will probably be able to fulfill her dreams and have her childhood longings brought to fruition. I, on the other hand, will still sit and hope for a late in life growth spurt.

(Photo from the Rockettes official website)

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