Janet Hommel Mangas: The Present of “Hanging Out”

It seemed like a great idea. After all, it was a Christmas present from one of my beloved daughters.

Every year, my daughters ask me, “Mom, what do you want for Christmas?”

And I say, “Time with you.”

For the past few years, they’ve offered me a “tea tasting class” at Tea’s Me in Indianapolis – it was awesome. The four of us spent a spring weekend playing games at an Airbnb in Brown County – we definitely made memories.

But this year I added, “Or something adventurous – maybe try a new sport or something.”

Maybe I should have given my daughter #2 a little more direction, like, “I’ve never tried pickleball or tai chi. How about a “learn to row” class with the Indianapolis Rowing Center at Eagle Creek? I bet a series of archery lessons to improve the old technique would be fun.

Obviously, these practical ideas must not have even made the rounds of Chloe’s cerebellum.


This girl, whom I must remind you, whom I loved and nurtured with all my heart and intentions, signed us up for a class in aerial silks and aerial fitness.

Go ahead and google “beautiful silk aerial poses”. I’ll wait.

Better yet, if you’re really interested, head over to the Cirque Indy website or Facebook site and check out their photos. (I’m still patiently waiting for you to finish browsing through the beautiful athletic aerial poses.)

Anyway, what I did at Cirque Indy last Saturday morning was absolutely NOT like, in deviant form, any of those photos or videos.

As my daughter easily turned around to sit on the blue silk aerial hammock, I wondered why we weren’t in the other class because standing on a trapeze seemed a lot more fun than trying to turn my hindquarters over so that I was sitting on the hanging silks. I finally sat down, but not without many awkward attempts and not before the laughter of the aforementioned loving girl had filled the room – bouncing off the array of colored silks.

While girl #2 easily followed instructions ranging from Delicate Hanging Ballerina Pose to Armless Perched Cross-Leg Pose, I, on the other, kept asking “what the hell is this?” what am I supposed to do with my feet?”

I felt I looked more graceful and agile when I did the upside down “Y” – head down from the waist, doing the splits a bit, arms outstretched. I actually looked more like a middle-aged “H”, from the side – the “H” is for hanging on for dear life.

Unfortunately, a high wind came in (probably due to my middle child’s laughter) and started to swirl the hammock silk like a windsock in a tornado. It was at this exact moment that I discovered that I was now at the age where I feel dizzy when I spin upside down, hanging from my legs and unable to grip the ground with my arms hanging down.

However, I am very proud to report that I did NOT, in fact, vomit. Although the child who started living in our house in 1992, also found a lot of humor there.

It was a memorable Christmas present – complete with a great workout, sweat and laughs. We even had lunch at Tea’s Me – after the dizziness subsided.

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