My Dad played hockey in his younger days, so he and my Mom would take my big brother and myself to the pond or the ice skating rink from when I was about the age of three.
Now that I'm in my (ahem) forties, I'd love to take my kids skating too, but I just don't feel the desire to kill myself in the process.
One of the last times I donned the old skates mind you, was in my twenties with two of my girlfriends from home. (Hi Amy and Michelle!)
We had the fabulous opportunity to bond over good times while home on our first winter break from college. Our togetherness was short lived on the ice however. It mainly took place in route to the hospital where I was gleefully wisked away for a nice surgery to put my whole left ankle back together after I snapped it in half doing what? Oh yeah, ice skating.
You can understand my hesitation then, when one of my favorite friends from work named Alicia had the idea of a skate date for our girls. She has a five year old that my daughter adores so it only seemed right to put them together on the ice. Them, as in the two five year olds.
When Alicia smiled and said, "Oh, we can go too!" a wave of panic mixed with a little sickness covered over me. The paradox between self preservation and ferocious maternal prowess over your child, is at times a complex and challenging beast.
Half of me thought the girls would be fine as long as they were together. Alicia and I could stand smiling through the plexiglass wall cheering them on.
The other half of me knew better. When we got there, there were big kids zooming around the rink and our two little girls would've been terrified.
Nervously standing to pay for our rental skates, it was difficult to silence the battle raging in my mind between the possibilities of an afternoon of beautiful memories for my child, versus how long the wait time would be at the emergency room on such a fine day.
That's when it hit me. Tightening Lauren Elizabeth's skates wasn't too hard to do, minus her wiggly squeals of energy. My skates however? To bend over and tighten them lace by lace made me realize that I was indeed not a youngster anymore. I began to really second guess the decision. In fact I think the words, "I'm going to die. I'm going to die," began pulsing through my brain.
The four of us stood and I tried to convince myself that it would be just like riding a bike. Um yeah, no. You can take your bike. Lauren Elizabeth and her cute friend, Adriana were already off and running while I looked for each object I could hold onto for balance. If it was someone's head at the nearest bench, I didn't care.
Alicia and I gathered the girls and made our way to the rink as my heart pounded through my chest. I couldn't help but wonder what color my hospital gown would be this time.
As the four of us took the ice...well...the wall, we began to feel the uncertainty under our feet. The ice somehow felt more slippery in North Carolina than it did in Ohio.
We held onto each other for dear life. The good news was that we had five year olds with us and were able to go at their pace.
I was using muscles I didn't know I had, but settled on the fact that I'd rather have soreness from that, than a hard fall with all of its glory.
What went from a day of fear and anxiety eventually turned into one of ridiculously funny slow and steady balance between the four of us. The little ones had a ball and believe it or not, Alicia and I did too.
If it weren't for her, I never would've gone. Everything from my shoulders to my calves are screaming at me in pain now and it even hurts to type. That will fade though.
My daughter has asked a hundred times since then, when we get to go again. She doesn't even have the concept of how much it worried me and for that, I'm grateful.
Because of a good friend and the love of a child, it taught me that you're never too old to have fun, no matter how much it might scare you at first.
Sometimes you just have to lace up your skates and go for it. You never know what memories might lie ahead.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have some bags of frozen peas calling my name.
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