Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Put Your Hands Up

I have learned that when Heather asks me to do something that I should say yes. 

When we went to the BlogHer blogging conference in New York she had me participating in a 5k through Central Park in a tutu.  I was skeptical at first, but it turned out to be an amazing experience.  I've learned to jump in with both feet and ask questions later

So when I got an email from her about six weeks ago asking me to be in a Flashmob with her at the Blissdom blogging conference in Nashville, I replied yes immediately.   Then I went and googled "flashmob" to find out what I had gotten myself into. 

For those of you not in the know (like me) a Flashmob is a choreographed dance that is performed in front of a crowd of unsuspecting spectators.   If you're a fan of the TV show Modern Family, there is a great bit about a flashmob on that show here.  

The Blissdom flashmob was the idea of a blogger named Jana (who is an actual dancer); she and some friends choreographed a dance routine to Miley Cyrus' "Party in the USA", set up a secret facebook page with dance tutorials and assigned all the participants in a "wave" of dancers - the idea is that when the song starts, some people start dancing right away, and then waves of dancers join in at pre-determined times.. so only 15 or so people start the dance, but by the end we had almost 100 people dancing.   

We chose the end of the closing keynote for our time to dance.  The conference organizers didn't know what was going on, nor did about 600 people sitting in the conference hall.   We managed to keep the whole thing a surprise.   

Jana posted her dance tutorials on the secret Facebook page so we could all practice our part of the routine beforehand.    We were all told to wear fingerless gloves (easy to slip on under the table as we waited for our time to jump up and dance) as our 'costume'.   

So for three or four weeks before the conference, I watched this woman I had never met before dance her little heart out and practiced along with her.   In my living room.

Greta thought this was awesome, of course.   She learned the dance right along with me.   Here's a little video of one of our practice sessions:

Below is a video of the actual flashmob.   My friends Heather, Kristin and  Ann are in it (at the :42 mark you can see them get up to dance - Heather is the adorable blond pregnant lady, Ann has the most fabulous grey and black striped fingerless gloves/arm warmers on and Kristin is the pretty blond in the white sweater).    I'm barely visible near the very end of the dancing part (at the 1:24 mark), in the middle of the crowd (my hair is up and I have a black sweater and white shirt on ... don't blink - you'll miss it).

Before I left, I talked a lot about mother guilt, how hard it is to justify going away for five days, and struggling with whether or not it's okay to indulge in myself like that.

But you know what I love?   I love that my kids see me out living life, dancing in flashmobs, speaking on panels, connecting with my friends.    Greta talks a lot about the "Tutu run", and while I was in Nashville she had show-and-tell in her classroom, and she brought a picture of me speaking on the panel to her class and talked about how I was going to dance in a "Flash Mom" (I'm sure that must have raised some eyebrows).

I want my kids to jump in with both feet, push through fear and live their life out loud.   But I can't show them something I don't live myself.

And now I'm home, back in the daily grind.   We're on our umpteenth snow day, cooped up in the house.   I carry Nashville inside me like a little light.  It's an experience I'll never forget.   

And even if I start to forget, now I've got two kids wandering around the house, each wearing one of my sparkly fingerless gloves, dancing, and saying, "Put your hands UP, Momma!"


  1. Sweet. I love the video of you two.

  2. I have chills! Look at that Greta with that fancy glove on. I love it.
    It was such a fun experience, that flashmob. I want to do another one! :)

  3. Lovelovelove this. Especially the part about living our dreams in front of our children. Someone I admire once told me that my children would learn to follow their dreams only if they saw me chasing mine, with them by my side, holding hands and singing ABCs. So I chase, and carry that little bit Nashville inside my heart, too.

  4. I saw your video on the FB page!

    I, too, was a flashmobber, but did not put in the same kind of practice.

    It was so much fun that day!

  5. You are the coolest mom! When your kids see you do stuff like that, they'll know not to be afraid of the world. They'll know they can go out and rock it just like you. Complete with (AWESOME, btw) fingerless gloves!

  6. I am so, so jealous you got to do this! I WANT TO BE IN A FLASHMOB WAAAAH!!!

  7. Love. You guys were awesome & it's on my bucket list so e-mail me next year ok? Blissdom 2012 should have every participant involved :) Alli would just die LOL

  8. That would be so cool - if the whole room was dancing by the end. Now that we know it can be done, too - Jana was totally organized and awesome but nobody was really sure it could be pulled off until it was!!

  9. That is fantastic!!!
    Modern family is my favorite and I love watching flash mob vids. I'm googling Blissdom Canada ;)

  10. I love this so much. We need an encore!

  11. Kudos to the flashers!! I was one of the uber surprised in the crowd. YAY. I was all teary by the end because you realized immediately it was a giant dancing thank you to the organizers. Wow. and cool. and I loved your speaking gig in the cause session.
    Okay done now.

  12. You are responsible for THIS -

    I have just signed up and paid my deposit to abseil down the world's highest transporter bridge.

    For charity. I WILL be posting a link to my donations/sponsorship page, because I am holding you responsible... ;-)

  13. If you go here, you will see a picture of the Transporter Bridge, with DaMomma's Percy Penguin in it. And you will see that it is high. Really high. As in, 'oh my word, what did I just do. What was I thinking of. You thought that looked FUN?' high.

    So if any of you lovely people on Ellie's blog would like to donate, then please do. If not, then just see what ripples Ellie's FlashMom have caused - and go create some ripples of your own...

  14. GILLIAN! I love this! I just donated!! You are totally inspiring - and such a worthy cause!

    I'll post about this on my FB page, but for any of you reading this, please go check out the link she posted!

    This does sound very scary, but I just know it's one of those things you will be SO GLAD you did. :)


  15. awesome. You and Greta looked like you were having so much fun. What a very cool lesson you're giving your kids.

  16. I blame you ENTIRELY, I hope you realise!

    Thank you for donating; I promise you some photos in March and you can write something blog-worthy because I think it will take me til May to stop whimpering...

  17. You rock, mama. You really, really rock. Thanks for sharing :)

  18. Wow, Ellie, you're a great dancer! How fun.

  19. That is FREAKIN' awesome. All of it. Seeing you guys makes me miss BlogHer. So so glad you participated!