Oh, and I also retired. There's that, too.
One day last week, when the weather was lovely and the sun warm, I took our 8 year old granddaughter to Skate at the Park. She had only been on skates once before, and that was indoors. Being the life-enthusiast that she is, getting out of the house and to the rink was a breeze. Sweater weather made things much easier. A relatively decent pair of rental skates added to the excitement - for about 30 seconds.
You know from my previous two Facing Your Fears posts that I was just getting back on the ice myself. Inching up a slippery ramp and then helping my granddaughter onto the ice was a fear I hadn't expected. I was scared of falling, or falling on her.
"NANA!! HOLD ON TO ME! I'M SCARED! I CAN'T DOOOOO THIS!"
"Let's try using the buckets."
That was the start.
With temperatures again pushing 50 degrees, the ice was rapidly softening and rutting. That made the edges by the rail something akin to skating on a severe case of acne. Raised bumps and uneven edges were everywhere, making the task of holding on to her while she held on to the buckets quite the challenge.
After much cajoling, and reminding her that turning can't into can happens by doing, we started to make headway. About 30 minutes into the session, the "Can't" started to become, "Let me try myself but I want to stay close to the
I suppressed my inner Skate Mom and didn't even try to give anything resembling "instruction" because it was not going to go well if I did - either for her, or for me. We set some goals of going from one panel to the next without holding on. After a turn around the postage-sized rink, that started to seem like a doable thing. One panel turned into two, then three.
But things really got better when my granddaughter made a friend named Olivia.
Olivia was also using a barrel, but she was already stepping away and was trying things on her own. She and my granddaughter started venturing out to the center of the ice with the barrels. The squealing changed from terror to joy as the two of them figured it all out. Before I knew it, they were both racing around the ice at an amazing clip. The operative phrase went from "Hold on to me!" to "I can do it myself. Watch!"
It was "Skate With Team USA" that afternoon, so we stopped for lunch, went back to the rink, got our skates on again and tried to find a centimeter of ice that wasn't taken up by all the people who had come out to skate with the athletes. At that point, I was exhausted. I had been on my skates for nearly four solid hours. I also had no intention of getting on the ice with the Team members, all of whom I knew. That would have been taking the Skate Mom thing to an entirely new and awkward level.
At the end of the day, exhausted and exhilarated, we headed home. My granddaughter faced her fears and learned that anything is possible if you are willing to work for it.
Me? I managed to do some very tentative crossovers for the first time in five years.
At home by the fireplace that night, with hot cocoa in hand, we both agreed that we had accomplished much that day in the park, under the sun.
And we agreed that it was just the beginning.