A few weeks ago, Paige started taking ice skating lessons. She got them from her Susu for her 5th birthday, and she was VERY ready for them to start. Like, she asked every day (often multiple times a day) when her first lesson was going to happen. Every day from January 11th until the first lesson on February 4th. Needless to say, it was a LOOOOONG month.
Shopping for the skates was an, um, adventure – the girls and I hit Dick’s Sporting Goods on a Friday afternoon, and let’s just say the journey involved trying on lots of skates, included sweating and swearing on my part, and whining and crying on the girls’ parts, and ended with one of Blair’s signature fits.
Sidenote here: these fits aren’t always a bad thing. Other shoppers often let us get in front of them in line, checkout people work extra fast, and we rarely have any wait when we need issues resolved. If you need to borrow her, let me know.
We had a LONG talk about how tight skates have to be. Let me remind you that I grew up in a house o’ hockey. My dad grew up playing hockey. My older brother played hockey for … well, forever. And my little brother played hockey. I told Paige that her Botsie’s motto always was “if you can’t feel your toes, your skates are just tight enough.” And trust me, he meant it.
We also had to have a LONG talk about how tall her socks were going to be. This is a girl who doesn’t like to wear tights because “these socks are too tall!” So, the sports socks took a lot of getting used to.
We also talked about how we’d have to get her skates sharpened, about how sharps skate blades were, about how ice is slick and she might fall down and that’s okay, about how she needed to listen to her instructor, about how she was going to wear her bike helmet even though she wasn’t going to be on her bike, about … well, you get the idea. Talking about ice skating took A LOT of time and effort. Almost as much as waiting the three weeks for ice skating lessons to start.
She did really well! She seems to really like it, although she liked the part OFF the ice (practicing feet and arm placement, and falling) better than the part ON the ice (actually skating). She was scared to take her first few steps out there, but she was so brave, and has gotten a little braver every week. And, she hasn’t yet said she doesn’t want to go back – which is huge. This is what usually happens after we try something once – she always says she doesn’t want to go, I try to convince her she does want to go, I end up finally forcing her to go, and then she has fun once she gets there. This includes school, people. Every. Single. Day.
It was a surreal moment – watching Paige and my nieces out on the ice while Blair ran around on the bleachers was like an instant flashback for me. I spent almost every ‘Dad and Nan’ weekend growing up at the Skadium watching Rob play. Jay and I knew all the ins and outs of the bleachers, bathrooms, snack bar and back hallways. When I moved home from Chicago (and even before then), I attended almost all of Jonathan’s hockey tournaments. In fact, the last time I was at this particular ice rink was at one of his games. I always say I hate being cold, but I never have stood up in the headed seating area to watch any of the games because I loved the sounds of skates and sticks hitting the ice, players yelling out to each other, and the other parents talking and gossiping. And the hot chocolate. Obviously.
So I stood out there while Blair explored with her cousin Gracie, and I froze. But it was awesome. Watching your child try something new for the first time, something you know they are nervous and maybe even a little scared about, is like running a marathon (in my head, folks. I’ve clearly never ran a marathon – thinking that watching someone else do an activity is like running a marathon is why I will NEVER run a marathon). I think I held my breath the entire time. I stood far away so I wasn’t at all tempted to remind her to listen to the teacher. Letting her stand on her own, make her own friends, and find her own comfort zone is terrifying for me .. and I know this is only the beginning.
I could hear she and her cousin Addison giggling, and I could see my niece Natalie shaking her booty and skating backwards. I took a deep breath. Fun was being had. Fears were being conquered. All was right with the world.
Rob was there watching the first lesson, and we never talked about it. But I’m sure he must have thought the same thing – I have no doubt that JoBear was there somewhere, watching it all and cheering them on. And laughing about what a nervous wreck I was, making a huge deal about something as simple as a first ice skating lesson. He wasn’t surprised. And I’m sure none of you are either.
A short video of she and Addison’s first few steps on the ice: