Of all the things my kids wanted to do on spring break in the mountains, for the 8yo, ice skating was at the top of the list. But it rained a couple of days on our trip and we never got to skate. So in order to make good on our promise, we made one final detour on our way home from vacation to the free skate at a local ice skating rink.
Terror and panic set in (for me). I laced up skates for maybe the fourth time in my life. The 8yo who is now an expert on her heelies laced up skates for maybe the fourth time in her’s. We both took to the ice for a father-daughter skate filled with potential (of a concussion). I gripped the railing for dear life. She took off down the ice. I skated like each moment was my last. She skated like each moment was her first, mastering a new toy with expert precision.
Dear god, just don’t let me fall. Don’t let me make a fool out of myself in front of my kid. In front of everyone. In front of the parents (eating their appetizers). Oh yes, did I mention a bunch of people were having birthday parties at the rink? The parents in their cozy sweaters watched warmly and safely behind the glass with their drinks and their chip & dip while I struggled to stay upright. Dear god please don’t let me fall flat on my butt in front of them.
Slowly I regained whatever skill and precision I had (none). I was able to make it around without grabbing the railing in a death grip. I figured out that since my daughter kept lapping me, if I took shortcuts across the ice, I could meet up with her on each side. She wasn’t lapping me anymore (not so much anyway). I was huffing. I was puffing. I was wheezing. But I was skating. She was skating.
The free skate period was two hours long. I found that I had exhausted all my energy in about thirteen minutes (five minutes). Needless to say it was about an hour and forty-five minutes longer than it should be. But we skated. We skated some more. We stopped for a drink. We stopped to adjust our skates. One whole hour passed. My wife and other daughter showed up to watch us. Dear god please don’t let me fall in front of them. Let me look graceful (like a stampeding rhino). I was.
My daughter finally decided she had skated enough. She turned in her skates. I turned in mine. Immediately my thoughts turned to rest (and Ben Gay and Icy Hot). I felt pain in places I didn’t know I even had. My ankles hurt. My back hurt. My feet hurt. But my kid had a good time. That felt good. I asked her what her favorite part was. She said it was when I got in the middle of the ice with her (basically, when I wasn’t clinging on for dear life and we were skating together, that’s when she had the best time). And so it was, ice skating promise fulfilled. Dad didn’t fall. Daughter had a good time. I barely, hardly, didn’t embarrass myself so much (thank god the rink security tape isn’t public yet). A new memory was made.