Over a quiet lunch BFF Lisa and I caught up on life and love since our last spur of the moment meal. In between bites of Chicken Picatta I told her,
“The new season of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, Making the Team has started and a bunch of 40 year-olds tried out.
Swallowing her mouth full of salmon Lisa replied,
“So, what? Is there a “B” team now? The Botox Babes?”
My laugh was followed by:
“Have I not taught you all things DCC? There is no “B” team because they only bring their “A” game.”
The idea of a forty-year old in the Dallas Cowboys uniform is incomprehensible to us since both our lives were hypnotized by dress your age mothers. Mental programming started early on. Our moms, Bev and Ellie, believe nice girls don’t chew gum, no white shoes until after Easter, and no mixing of the metals (gold and silver) in jewelry. “Are you wearing a bra?” is a personal favorite. Don’t forget the ever annoying “Sit like a lady” bonus phrase. But the winning Mom Mantra is “only girls from the wrong side of the tracks get their ears pierced.” Since my mom (Bev) and Lisa’s mom (Ellie) lived in completely different cities, just where were those railroad tracks, and who determined the wrong side?
The regulation as to who is approved to wear white on their wedding day puts a smirky smile on my face as I remember a time (or two) when a whispering wedding attendee said, “She shouldn’t be wearing white.” The subliminal brainwashing was clearly effective, because when I watch “Say Yes to the Dress” with fifty year-old brides dressed like cupcakes, I cringe a bit and think they should be ticketed.
I must have passed the mantra of dress your age, whatever that age may be on to Megan. Though she was so beautiful I had talent scouts call me from the pageant world, I refused to put her in an environment that dresses little girls like women. When she became a young woman I saw to it that her clothing was fun and in-style. Even when my girl was struggling with her weight because of the undetected adrenal tumor, I pressed her to enjoy her teens and the crazy fun clothes that go with it, because it comes but once a lifetime.
In the same spirit, Megan picked out all of my clothes, wanting me to dress my age and not beyond it. As Megan expressed her final wishes she decisively said, “Mom, promise me you won’t dress like Barbara Bush at my funeral.” Since Megan’s illness aged me beyond my years, and I am the black dress and pearls girl, her fears were not unfounded. Still, it makes me laugh to this day.
I wish Megan could have been here to see the first episode of Season 5 of The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders – Making the Team. The magic began when Kelli Finglass, Director of the DCC, emerged in her beautiful red dress, commanding the attention and admiration of over six hundred hopefuls. In my world it was a touchdown.
As the hour-long premier show progressed, I was intrigued by the returning candidates, amused by the those with no God-given rhythm (I’d be in that group), and tortured by the commercial tease that alluded to the possibility of a returning veteran being voted off.
But the absolute showstopper, the moment that I wanted to phone my girl in heaven and say “You’re gonna love this!” was when the forty-plus year old DCC hopefuls stepped out onto the audition floor in hopes of laying claim to one of thirty-six positions consistently held by the young and the beautiful.
On one side, I have to applaud any woman (at any age) that has the mojo to reach for her dream and submit to the audition process. But I did wonder what my son would think if me, his 53-year-old mom, put on crop shorts and a sequin bra and shaked it before a national audience and a 60 yard wide high definition TV that made me look like a double-wide trailer?
My first thought is not ‘he would die of embarrassment,’ but rather, ‘my death would be imminent.’ I contacted Ryan to find out what his reaction would really be, and he responded with three choices:
- This is the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, not The Real Housewives of Omaha. Fifty year old women are not cheerleaders!
- I’m excited that you’ve found something to be passionate about…please don’t make me watch!
- Hmmm…I thought I was the only athlete in the family, but good luck!
As four mid-life moms shaked it in high definition, Charlotte Jones Anderson, Executive VP of the DCC and newly appointed National Advisory Board chairman for the Salvation Army, leaned into Ms. Finglass and said,
If you ever see me on the dance floor…doing looks like that…and [I] think that I’m cute…Please tell me.
Perish the thought. Before Ms. Jones Anderson completed her sentence, Ms. Finglass overlapped the absurd idea with,
I will tell you.
Since there must be some life lesson in this blog, in comes in the reality that even the beautiful and successful Charlotte Jones Anderson depends on friends who keep her moving forward toward excellence and away from being delusional. I am grateful to have the same camaraderie with Lisa.
Lisa was kind enough at the two-year anniversary of Megan’s death to say, “When was the last time you saw the counselors at The Cancer Center?” honest enough to say, “You’re not wearing those jeans! Megan would want me to tell you.” and loving enough that she would never let me go on high definition TV to shake my boot-tay.
Sweet Jesus…if you don’t have a friend, find yourself one.
- The new video screen in Cowboys Stadium is largest HDTV in the world. It is 60 yards wide, stretching from 20 yard line to 20 yard line.
- In a May 26, 2009 article, Chad Mumm points out that The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders onscreen are 101-feet tall.
- I had enough try-out failures as a teen to know I should hang up the poms and move on to my next passion.
- Every friend should not have the right to give you constructive criticism or input. Reserve that privilege for an inner circle of friends that know you best and truly love you.
On a Lighter Note:
- The “No God-given rhythm” group danced as Lady Gaga’s Poker Face played in the background. Mickey Spagnola, columnist for the Dallas Cowboys and rookie DCC judge, kept his.
- My ears were pierced before the age of 16.
- I wore a new black dress from Von Maur’s designer department to Megan’s funeral. I did not look like Barbara Bush.
- I am eternally grateful to Joseph Essaghian of Belldini for his help in picking out my clothes. This ruffle sweater in red is my new personal favorite.
I disagree. I don’t think 40 year olds should hang up their pom poms. Be more practical. Those things could be used to dust an entire house. And those high heeled boots could help you with the out of reach places.
FYI, my booty probably shakes when I am dancing around the house, dusting up a storm. Consider me a DCC dust magnet, although the boots would no doubt hurt my bunions and I’d lose my balance. But I can still shake!
You were dressed beautifully at Megan’s funeral. The speach you gave was one of the most incredible things I have ever seen in my life. I still don’t know how you were able to do it.
Some opportunities come but once. I knew I had but one opportunity to stand before 500+ guests and express Megan’s heart and mine.
The morning of her funeral I reminded myself that I could do what life, and God, required of me.
Amazing grace was my portion. Thank you for being there, through so many things.
That’s right. Val didn’t look like Barbara Bush at Megan’s funeral. She was stunning. Her eulogy was equally stunning. I don’t think anyone in the room breathed the whole time she spoke. She was the picture of poise and grace under fire. It was a huge lesson to me that the human spirit can rise to conquer the most fearful and torturous moments in life.
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