A Moment in Time

Author: Shannon Miller

I struggle with what to write on my blog. I like to have a focus but every time I go to write, I have six to ten different things I want to cover. Then I worry that my interests are eclectic and many.

Should I focus on work (which job?) or motherhood or fitness or gymnastics? What about some of my lesser known focuses that I may start sharing soon! 

While it probably makes sense to stick to one topic, that’s just not how my life works. And I’d venture to guess it’s not how most of our loves work. We wear multiple hats every day and often don’t have time to take one hat off before we put on the next one. 

So, my blog may get a little here, there and everywhere over time, but hopefully there will be something in each post that makes you smile, makes you think and helps you in some small way.

Because I’m restarting my blog after about a 10 year hiatus (#momlife #worklife #reallife) I’m going to start with a fun question I get asked a ton.

Question: Do you still do gymnastics?

Answer: In my head, often. Reality, not so much.

I do love to do a handstand. I do cartwheels regularly mostly to make my kids laugh. But I love the feeling of being upside down, of doing what I loved for so long.

I’ve posted on Instagram portions of a show I was asked to host a couple of years ago called Jump, Jive and Thrive. I was asked to host the show, along with Scott Hamilton and Samantha Harris. The show was to be a mix of dance, gymnastics and music with a focus of raising money and awareness for women’s cancers. Scott and I had hosted another show year’s before and had so much fun. So, of course, I said YES!

Then the call took an interesting turn. “Uh, so we really need someone to perform a beam routine during the show…..” So, I immediately began thinking about what current gymnasts would be a good fit for the show when…. “is this something you could do? It would just be a short balance beam routine….and maybe a little bit of a floor routine….” LOLOLOLOLOL!!

I thought they were completely joking; I’m pretty sure I actually laughed out loud. I had turned 40 years old earlier that year! I do my best to be active, but I know what it takes to be a gymnast. It takes muscles that I’d forgotten I even had at that point.

When the laughing stopped and I realized they were serious, I was upfront that this was not likely something I could do, and do well. I wanted the show to be fantastic for viewers and wasn’t sure I could do it.

Yet, even as the conversation moved on to other aspects of the show, I could tell there was a part of me thinking it through:

  • I have the chance to get back on a balance beam.
  • This is an opportunity to, once again, perform in a sport I love.
  • Why should age matter? I can either do it or not, but don’t blame it on age.
  • If I buckle down and really work on specific strength and flexibility, maybe I could get a few skills back that would make for a nice routine.
  • This would be the first time my children could really see me perform in a sport that I fell in love with at about their age.

And finally….

  • How empowering would it be, after my battle with cancer and all that my body has been through, to then be able to perform any skills at all on balance beam and floor?

While, I didn’t officially say yes on that phone call, I knew by the time I clicked END that, for better or worse, I was completely on board.

The next four weeks I spent my workouts focusing on strength and flexibility. During my kid’s gymnastics/ninja classes I would work on balance beam and floor choreography. I can’t even tell you how exciting it was to do a back handspring again!!

My daughter loves Fight Song by Rachel Platton. We dance to it around the house. It’s such an empowering song and seems to really fit with what I began feeling during my own cancer journey and in so many other moment’s in life.

All in all, this two minute piece that aired on CBS in October of 2017, became this incredible moment in time for me that brought together every aspect of my life now and my previous athletic life. And it was all for an amazing cause.

I write about this event from two years ago because I think of it often. I think about it when I’m scared to try something new, when I’m not sure I have what it takes, when I want to feel good about what is possible when we work hard and believe in ourselves. Yes, it was just a cartwheel, just a routine. But in reality, it was so much more.

In 2011, going through chemo I was barely able to get out of bed most days, I could not have imagined having the stamina to dance and perform for two solid minutes! I lost strength and muscle in my body and gained neuropathy in my hands. Over a year after finishing chemo, I suddenly realized what a toll my body had taken. One afternoon, I was running after my son in the back yard when only a few steps in my legs simply gave out and I fell to the ground. I will never forget that moment. I was stunned. It was that instant when I realized my body had become so weak that I couldn’t keep up with my three year old child.

Instead of making 2011, a marker for things I could not do, I look at 2017 as a reset of things that I CAN do. How I’ve gained strength and stamina and more importantly the willingness to try things that scare me a bit. And I owe much of that renewed confidence to so many incredible people who have inspired me and shown me exactly what it means to get back up, to keep going, to try something new or something old. To not be embarrassed or uncertain. Rather, to just get up and go and do and try whatever you can because each time we do that it is a celebration of life.

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