After a 20 year hiatus, I am back on roller skates.
The THINGS we will do for our children, eh??
I actually *adored* skating as a kid. Every first Thursday of the month, our church would rent out the closest skating rink, gather their records (yes, records) and head to the church bus. After a 20 minute drive, we piled out and into the rental skates. It was a wood floor and the majority of attendees were youth group members but did we have FUN skating to our favorite CCM artists! Back in the day, it was lots of Petra, Michael W. Smith, Glad, Amy Grant, etc. I really loved it.
I've realized as an adult that the reason I don't like to exercise is because I don't like to sweat. I hate that sticky feeling. But with skating, if you're a fast skater, you blow the sweat off as you build it up. In hind sight, it was probably the *perfect* exercise for sweat-hating me. I also enjoy swimming but hey, if you don't have to get into a suit, WHY would you ever???
Yesterday on the way home from church, Matthew was reading his newsletter. There was a section about a fundraising skating party for a girl at our church who has Rett Syndrome. There was begging involved and I told him I would think about it. After all, I am still recovering from my rib/back stuff and I'm clumsy by nature and Hubby had plans of his own yesterday so it was all up to me. But being an unschooler and wanting to introduce him to any possible experiences [within reason...we won't EVER be bungy jumping!], I really wrestled with the decision. After several more attempts on his part, and a few walks down memory lane on my part, we decided to go.
A few years ago, he saw an episode of Caillou (who has since been banned from our home on account of his constant WHINING and his parents constant giving into whatever whim he has). In that episode, Caillou decides to go ice skating. In 15 minutes, you see him decide to go, whine his parents into taking him, his first step on the ice, his skating beautifully and him going home. So Matthew, I think, thought it would be really easy. And if ice skating with one blade was easy, roller skating with the old style (non-inline) skates would be even easier. But he wanted to invite Grammy, so we called her and she came.
When we got the skates on, he was a little trepidatious. But as he skated on the carpet, his confidence climbed and when "Who Let The Dogs Out" came on the speakers, he wanted out on the skate floor.
If you haven't been skating in 20 years, let me tell you a few things.
1. Roller rinks are still run down nasty places to be.
2. Skates are still run down nasty things that have so much black gunk on the rollers that there's no way you can have a smooth ride.
3. Amazingly, candy/soda prices have not skyrocketed there like they have at movie theaters. Sodas and big candy bars were $1.
4. I *still* don't want to eat anything they serve. ;)
5. Wood floors aren't the thing now. Apparently, painted concrete floors with tiny bumps all over them are the rage. I'm sure they're much easier on concussions.
6. Painted concrete floors are very slick. Slicker than snot, I'd say. In many ways, it WAS ice skating.
Matthew heads out onto the floor. The best image will be to image someone who's never skated before being shoved onto an ice rink in roller skates. Need I say more? Then I get out there to rescue him. I'm thinking I'll skate backwards and hold his hands. The best image will be to imagine someone who's not skated in 20 years boldly stepping out with confidence onto an ice rink in roller skates. Need I say more?? Yeah, not a great idea.
He freaked out, I kept trying to urge him on. We made it halfway down the wall to the next off ramp. He then proceeded to dump himself unceremoniously on the bench and announce that it was too hard and, "Let's just go home!" I let him rest for a bit and hoped he wouldn't give up. The kid in me really wanted him to learn how to skate and love it as much as I did. But what really matted to the adult in me was that he not quit just because it was hard. I wanted him to give it a really good try. But he wasn't budging...he wanted to go home. It was about this time that Grammy showed up. And she put skates on. I told her that he wanted to go home and she said, "I'll get him out there". She went around a couple times to get her skating legs back. Her hiatus from skating hasn't been as long as mine. When she was still teaching at the day school, she would go skating with the elementary kids in the summertime so it's only been more like 10-15 years for her. Still...
She came back and somehow got him to agree to go out again. She held his hand and he stayed near the wall. He was doing more of a walking-in-skates rather than actually skating but she got him out there.
They went all the way around a couple times. Then they came in to take a break. After a bit, I couldn't find Matthew. I finally spotted him - he was going around all by himself! He was holding onto the wall but he was OUT THERE!
At this point, I went out to get some exercise. I started a diet last week and wasn't going to have time to walk my 1.5 miles today so I decided to skate if I got the chance. He was doing fine on his own so I got out there. I got more used to the floor but still...slicker than snot. I slid around and probably looked like a toddler most of the time but it was fun and I actually had fun laughing at myself. Once I got it mostly down again, I decided to practice the backwards skating again. I was doing fine (though it was much harder on that slick floor) but at one point, I found myself in the middle of the rink and suddenly, my eyes left my skate and started to follow the disco light on the floor. The next thing I knew, I had come down hard on my left knee and then to the floor. I felt really foolish but hey, I'd skated pretty good for someone who hadn't done it in 20 years. ;) I dusted myself off, setting a good example for Matthew, and kept skating. A few more turns around the rink and I caught up with Grammy. She turned to say something to me and started to slide on the concrete. She reached for the emergency exit, missed and did a literal belly flop on the concrete floor. I think I stopped breathing until she started to sit up and I saw an 'ok' look on her face. She hit hard and I was quite concerned about her. But she dusted herself off and got back up on the horse too.
By the second hour, he was out in the middle of the rink holding onto nothing. He was skating the small inner circle. You remember that circle - the one where you'd meet another girl, hold hands and skate in a circle, right? Or practice your shoot-the-duck? He even told me later that he fell and hurt his rear really bad but got back up and kept going. My little over-actor gets super huge points for waiting until much later to tell me about it. ;)
I'm beaming with pride today because he didn't let it beat him. He didn't give up. Rose has stubborn determination...probably too much. But giving up on things is easier for Matthew and I am so incredibly proud of him that he kept trying and didn't let himself miss the fun.
Today, Grammy is pretty sore where she fell (mostly on her chin, which hit the floor pretty hard) and my knee is very tender when I touch it but we're ok. I was so worried that the fall would make my back/rib worse but it's no worse than it was.
He can't wait to go back! Next time, he says, he can't wait to take Rose. Neither can I! But next time, I think, I'll see if I can find a wooden floor.