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Left or Right – Jotting Joan

Left or Right

Growing up is so hard to do. Yet, somehow we figure it all out: crawling, walking, talking, everything – including the difference between left and right.
As pre-schoolers, my big brother, younger sister and I studied the flexibility of right and left and the inflexibility of north and south.
Brother stood in the center of the room looking out the window. He held out his right hand and told our mother, “This is my right and that is left. North is out that window.”
He turned around in wonder, “Now this side of the room has my right hand and that side has my left. North is still out that window.”
Knowing left from right helps when the GPS directions say, “Turn left,” and we have no time to look at which direction the arrow points.
We must know our left and right in the DVD instructed exercise class. Moving fast enough can be challenging. After several years of listening to the same DVD, I often anticipate the next move. However new people struggle to keep up, especially when the lady says, “Two steps right, two left, one right, now two left and one right.”
More than one has simply stopped in frustration.
“Just just keep moving,” we urge them. “The point is to get exercise. It doesn’t matter if you get it right. Eventually you will sort it out.”
I know it took me at least ùthree years.
In a recent exercise class as we did the side step shuffle, I commented to my neighbor. “In marching band, I could not keep in step with the band. Band directors and marching judges frown on that.”
My exercise neighbor looked at her left hand and said, “I guess I was dyslexic. I could not remember left and right, so my mother put a ring on my left hand saying, ‘now you will always know that is left.’ I still would wear a ring, if my knuckles weren’t so swollen,” she sighed. I nodded. I assumed that by her retirement years, she had sorted out her left and right, I nodded sympathetically.
“When I started doing the DVD class, we had a designated leader. I was there to build up strength and agility after an accident. I needed to keep moving, it’s easier to get the exercise in with other people around.”
“After several months the class leader commented, ‘it’s nice when everyone does it together.’” I don’t know if she was glad that day because I got it right, or if she was a bit peeved that I still did not get it right.
That reminded me of our preschooler who did not put his shoes on the correct feet.
Usually we noticed when he did not have them on the right feet and had him correct it before we left the house, but life happens.
We took the family to a national park. After a long walk we stopped at a public fountain to rest and get a drink the water.
An older hiker waited and watched as our four-year-old stood on tip-toes to drink. The man chuckled and commented to his companion, “that kid has his shoes on the wrong feet.”
We all looked. Yep, he had done it again.
Sonny heard the man laugh at him. He looked. He sat down, took off his sneakers and put them on correctly. He never made that mistake again.
Good for him. I still get out of sync with the right and left foot shuffle in exercise class, but I never put my shoes on the wrong feet.