To kick off July, my kids and I pick one new activity to try together for the month. Over the years, we’ve learned to play ukulele, climb the Grand Canyon and make cheese. After this summer, we have plans to be experienced cave spelunkers!

My favorite July was when we all learned how to hula hoop. My kids took to this activity right away. Our professional hula hoop teacher Kim, in her pink-sparkled pants and top, would effortlessly hoop around us, patiently saying, “Move your hips easily in a circle. Loosen your body and the hula will stay up right above your waist. Let the hoop be your safe circle.”

By the second lesson, I was barely hooping. Meanwhile, my kids hooped circles around me (quite literally). They were expertly hooping, smiling, and even doing the jazz hands the teacher had taught.

I couldn’t do jazz hands. My daughter, seeing me struggle, said, “Mom, you can’t do the jazz hands because you’re too worried about how you might look dumb doing the jazz hands. Don’t worry so much. Just put your hands in the air and shake them like you do when you’re trying to get Gibson’s and my attention. You know, the Mom-shake, like you do when you want us to clean our rooms and you hold your hands up in frustration. Just do that, but make your hands look happier.” 

I raised my hands with a smile, did the Mom-shake and my jazz hands were born.

In fact, I even got invited into the Inner Diva Hoop Troupe with those Mom-shake jazz hands. And when I’m not shaking them above my head, I can now play ukulele – while hula hooping.

Here’s to jazz hands, July and this joyous ride called family!


Nettie Reynolds is a writer and playwright, proud mom of two and hula hooper. Find her on Twitter or Instagram @netreynolds


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