Last night our church's children's group went roller skating. Now, I used to be the roller skating queen in middle school, but it has been quite some time since I tied on the ol' skates.
Well, actually, I took Bubba to a skating birthday party last summer, but that was the first time in at least twenty years that I had skated. I wanted to try it again just to see if I still could. I could still skate, but I was kind of surprised to find that it didn't come quite as easily to me as it used to. It is not, in fact, like riding a bicycle. I felt very unsteady on my feet and I think that feeling of unease is the same one I felt the first time I climbed a tree as an adult. I'm all to aware these days how much it would suck to break something, not to mention how inconvenient it would be.
I learned very quickly on that visit that it is much easier to keep a small non-skater on his feet if I was also not wearing skates. I had not counted on this, though, and was wearing only some cute summer slides. I think I only lost a toe or two though.
The funniest thing about that trip was Bubba's insistence on telling everybody he encountered "I'm not very good at this!" As though he needed to explain. He must have said it every ten seconds. Between trying to keep him on his feet and attempting to assure him that of course he wasn't very good, it was his first time, I was exhausted. But, by the time we were ready to go, he was starting to get the hang of it.
Last night was Punkin's first trip to the skating rink and I could tell she is a girl after my own heart -- a magpie. She is attracted to anything sparkly, shiny, or shimmery. The rotating lights and the disco ball were pure magic to her. She couldn't wait to get out there on the floor. I'm sure in her mind she was watching herself gliding across the floor like some of the older girls who were there.
After we got the skates on we headed out to the floor, whereupon Punkin's legs each went in a different direction. I felt very much like Dorothy when she's helping the Scarecrow right after he hops down from the post and he's flopping his limbs about willy nilly. Only Punkin's scarecrow feet had ten pound weights on them. I was wearing tennis shoes this time so my feet fared a lot better, but next time I think I'll invest in some steel toed boots.
We flopped and slipped and fell and "skated" one rotation around the rink before we retreated to the bench on the side. One of the other beginners told Punkin how much easier it was to skate on the carpet, so we gave it a try. We started out with my hands under her armpits, but she quickly set me straight. "No, Mommy! Let me go!" I was scared to death she was going to fall and break something (what with her recent medical luck and all), but she got her balance pretty quickly. And with that, she was off. By herself. Down the whole length of the skating rink and back.
As soon as I was willing to let go of her, she did it all by herself. I'm sure there's a metaphor for parenthood in there somewhere, but I've got a little something in my eye. Give me just a second....
By the end of the night she was sort of skating -- though she said "I was just WALKING, I want to skate like those girls!" You will, Punkin. You will.
6 years ago