I was whisked back to the 80s, and I was no longer the one doing exercises in that living room. It was my mother.
She had donned the sweats and cranked up the ol' victrola. (Okay, so maybe it wasn't quite as old as that. But it was definitely the contraption known as a record player.)
Onto the turntable went the workout disc, Aerobic Glow. And the instructor? Vickie. Beautiful Vickie with her purple striped leotard, permed hair, and super shimmery makeup. Super shimmery.
I joined my mother from time to time, contorting myself into "The Pretzel" and working up a sweat as we performed the "Jog . . . Star Stretch!" and "Knee lifts!" Eventually, my sister and I made up our own workout video with Vickie's instructions guiding us along the way. "Stretch and Twist!" It was truly a thing to behold.
It was inspiring to watch my mom work out in the living room. Of course I didn't think much of it at the time, but looking back I realize that she wisely used the time and resources that were available to her. No club memberships or fancy equipment. Just a record and a will.
* * * * *
My arms and abs burn as I release the plank. I glance back up at the iPad for my next instruction, not from Vickie, but from Ellen. Same house, same room. But a few things have changed.
I'm the mom now. The record player has morphed into the iPad which streams my Pilates video. Maizy attacks my face and I beg Miss Kate to distract her. Push ups are hard enough without Corgi lips getting in the way. I think of how grateful I am for my mom. For her strength, determination and will.
And then I think, deep down, that I still kind of want a purple leotard.