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!"