From Jane Fonda to Pilates

Here's Alyssa from Take a Deep Breath:

"Growing up, I'm afraid I was a bit of a disappointment to my mom. Oh, she never said so, and it wasn't that I was a failure in her eyes, or even that she wasn't proud of me. But, unlike my older brother, I did NOT inherit her athleticism, sense of adventure, and overall optimism. Instead, I inherited her tendency to trip over her own feet and my dad's tendency toward worrying. So during the years of tennis lessons (group, private, semi-private, and tennis CAMP!), when I failed to hit even a single ball and begged her to let me quit, she held on to the hope that she'd make a tennis player of me someday. Never happened.

So then it was downhill skiing. Again, Big Bro was a natural. Me? We'll never know. Because I couldn't even get UP the hill without falling flat on my face! (Stupid rope tow!) We tried basketball. Nope. Baseball. Uh-uh. Eventually she gave in and let me continue with my dance lessons (a little scary, but at least I never hurt anyone) and take drama. AT LAST, I had found my niche! Of course, that meant she and Dad had to sit through countless recitals and plays, but at least it kept me happy, busy, and relatively injury-free.

Finally, when I was 15, we found something athletic we could bondover: Jane Fonda workout tapes! Every evening, an hour after dinner, we would move the couch and the coffee table out of the way and sweat to Jane and her crew. (The workouts invariably included a tongue bath from the dog while we were lying down for crunches.) We would evensing along with the goofy songs, included to make sure we were working at a pace that wasn't TOO hard. That was the beginning of my regular workouts, which I continue to this day. I even teach pilates.

Mom doesn't play tennis anymore. She's 71 and has arthritis in her back (stemming, ironically, from an old TENNIS injury! See! I KNEWit!  It's bad for you!). But she does swim and lift weights and, on a recent trip to Hawaii, her first trip there, she re-discovered kayaking. She even went kayaking in the Charles River for the firsttime when she returned home to Boston.

We lost my dad to cancer back in September. I truly believe it was that vacation to Hawaii that has helped her heal, as well as helping her to re-discover that sense of adventure. After the Hawaii trip, she and her friend went on a cruise to South America, where she kayaked through a rain forest and swam in the crystal-clear ocean. This summer, she'll be joining my brother and his family on a trip through Spain and Italy before coming out to California to visit us.We're trying to find something fun and exciting for her to do. We need to keep up with her! I just hope I don't hurt myself. Oy!"

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