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Monkey bar dreams

Monkey bar dreams

Posted: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 8:00 pm
By: By Lisa Smartt

I don’t feel old. It seems like only yesterday I was a school girl on the playground swinging across the monkey bars. Well, not really. I mean, I never actually learned to get all the way across the monkey bars. Ever. Don’t be critical, friend. Crossing the monkey bars is way harder than it looks.  
My monkey bar dreams were made even more difficult because all the kids in third grade would just stand there. Watching. They were waiting for that moment when my chubby little fingers could no longer hold up my chubby little body. About halfway across I would let go and land with a great thud. That hard dusty landing was considered entertainment for the other 8-year-olds. Maybe the reason I don’t feel old now is that I was always old. A chubby old soul.
As hard as it is for me to believe, I’ll turn 50 next year. Some of you may have taken a cruise in honor of your 50th birthday. Maybe others had a special party with friends and family. Some of you may have gone rock climbing or jumped out of an airplane. I’m going a different direction. Yep! I think I’ll make it my goal to get across the monkey bars on my 50th birthday. That’s it. I’ll go to a local park and conquer one of my greatest childhood fears.   
No, I don’t want a large gathering of family and friends there. So don’t bother hiring a mariachi band or renting a big white tent or anything. Trust me. When a 50-year-old woman attempts a monkey bar crossing, the pressure is great enough without a mariachi band playing “Feliz Navidad” loudly in the background. However, if you want to send food, feel free. I’m partial to chocolate, chicken fingers, pink lemonade and homemade tortillas.  
I know. Some of you actually feel relieved that you don’t have to come to my party. I understand. I don’t think there’s anyone in West Tennessee who wants to watch a big 50-year-old woman hanging onto the monkey bars by her chubby fingers while desperately pulling at the back of her shirt ’cause her underwear is showing. Yeah, that scenario can put chills up the spine … and not the good kind of chills either. Don’t worry. I hold no malice toward any of you for not coming to the park that day. You have to protect your children at all cost.
This definitely needs to be an “immediate family only” monkey bar crossing birthday extravaganza. The way I see it, if I’ve cleaned up after your stomach virus or washed more than 500 loads of your dirty clothes, you can happily stand there and cheer for me as I make the great crossing. In fact, considering the number of dinner time stories I’ve patiently listened to about hand to hand combat, combustion engines and dangerous explosives … all three of my men should be there clapping and singing and quoting poetry about my raw courage.
I know. Some of you are training for a marathon right now. Maybe you’re going back to school for a graduate degree. Perhaps you’re doubting your abilities. Take courage, friend. There’s a woman in Dresden who is feverishly preparing for a monkey bar crossing. I am woman. Hear me roar.
For more information about Lisa Smartt, visit her website,

Published in The Messenger 3.28.12


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