J-Lo, Shakira and Me

February 5, 2020

I admit, I  didn’t watch the Superbowl halftime show Sunday night. By the time the famous booty started shaking, my booty and I were sound asleep. But I got caught right up at 4:30 AM the next morning, watching it all on YouTube (pre-dawn internet browsing is what happens when you go to bed before 8 PM). It took me a little while to process the spectacle. Here are a few observations:

I cannot watch someone crowd surfing without remembering the only time I participated in a trust fall, with the youth group I was leading. I closed my eyes and fell backwards, trusting in the reflexes and good faith of my students. I was caught before I hit the ground, but barely. That would be me hurling myself into a mosh pit: dropped, then trampled. But Shakira was a different story! 

I also cannot watch someone pole dancing without recalling the field trip to the firehouse in fourth grade, and my ignominious partial trip down that pole (I froze halfway down and had to be rescued). Not so J-Lo!

However, I do have stuff in common with those two superstar Latina goddesses.

Give me a minute. I’m thinking.

Oh yeah, here’s something: we are all moms! Ms. Lopez has 11 year old duet partner Emme, and Shakira has two cute little boys. I raised five kids, including three cute little boys, and I actually sang with my older daughter in church one time (for some reason I was never asked to repeat this feat). 

Here’s something else: we all have noticeable hips! Even when I was down around 105 lbs. many moons ago, dieting and exercising to beat the band, the tape measure didn’t budge much. This “Built for Child Bearing” look was a source of shame for decades. But recently, and thanks in part to these ladies, it is more than OK to be a bit hippy. 

And finally: we are all middle aged! Granted, I am a lot farther down Menopause Road than they are. Also granted, they could easily pass for 20-somethings, whereas I have grown weary of telling cashiers that no, I do NOT yet qualify for the senior discount. 

Seriously, though, I admire them both, and am thrilled about their continued success in an industry that still ridiculously favors youth. They may have hit the beauty jackpot, but it was their talent that was most on display Sunday night--that and their incredible work ethic. 

The brief, sweet tribute to Kobe Bryant and his daughter during the show was a reminder that any age is vulnerable to tragic outcomes. Life is short, and in the grand scheme of things, my hip measurement and wrinkles truly do not matter. 

So take it from my friends Shakira and Jenny. Be proud of who you are. Live every day to the fullest. Be trusting, and a little daring. Work hard. And (especially us women of a certain age): keep singing out. The world needs our voices.


    I am an author (of four books, numerous plays, poetry and freelance articles,) a director (of Spiritual Formation at a Lutheran church,) and a producer (of five kids).

    I write about my hectic, funny, perfectly imperfect life.

    Please visit my website: or email me at



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