Janet Hommel Mangas: The present of ‘hanging out’

It seemed like an excellent idea. After all, it was a Christmas gift from one of my beloved daughters.

Every year my daughters ask, “Mom, what do you want for Christmas.”

And I answer, “Time with you.”

In past years they’ve gifted me with a tea tasting class” at Tea’s Me in Indianapolis — that was awesome. All four of us spent a spring weekend playing games in a Brown County Airbnb — we definitely made memories.

But this year I added, “Or something adventurous — maybe try out a new sport or something.”

Maybe I should have given daughter No. 2 a bit more direction, such as, “I’ve never tried pickleball or tai chi. How about a ‘learn to row’ class with the Indianapolis Rowing Center at Eagle Creek? I bet a series of archery lessons to improve the ol’ technique would be fun.”

Obviously, those practical ideas must not have even come close to circling the cerebellum of Chloe.


This daughter, whom I should remind you, I loved and nurtured with all of my heart and greatest intentions, signed us up for an aerial silks and aerial fitness instruction.

Go ahead and google “beautiful aerial silk poses.” I’ll wait.

Better yet, if you’re really interested go to Cirque Indy’s website or Facebook site and check out their photos. (I’m still patiently waiting until you finishing perusing the gorgeous athletic aerial poses.)

Anyway — what I did in Cirque Indy last Saturday morning absolutely did NOT, in any deviated form, bear resemblance to any of those photos or videos.

While my daughter easily flipped upside down to get seated on the blue silk aerial hammock, I was wondering why we weren’t in the other class because standing on a trapeze looked a heck of a lot more fun that attempting to flip my rear-end over so I was seat-mounted on the hanging silks. I did eventually get seated, but not without numerous clumsy attempts and not before the aforementioned loving daughter’s laugh filled the room — bouncing off the array of the colorful silks.

While daughter No. 2 was easily following directions going from hanging delicate ballerina pose to perched crossed leg with no arms pose, I, on the other kept asking “what am I supposed to do with my feet?”

I felt I looked most graceful and agile when I was doing the upside down “Y” — hanging head down by my waist, kinda’ doing the splits, with my arms poised wide. Actually, I looked more like a middle-aged, sideways “H” — the “H” is for hanging on for dear life.

Unfortunately, a big wind came along (probably from the roar of laughter from that middle child of mine) and started twirling the hammock silk like a wind sock in a tornado. It was at that precise moment that I discovered that I was now at the age that I get quite dizzy when I’m twirling upside down dangling from my legs and unable to grasp the floor with my hanging arms.

However, I am most proud to report that I did NOT, in fact, throw up. Although the child who began living in our house in 1992, found great humor in this also.

It was a memorable Christmas present — complete with a great workout, sweat and laughter. We even had lunch at Tea’s Me — after the dizziness subsided.