I went ice skating as a child once. I was probably 12 or 13 and it was an dinky indoor rink at some "resort" in the Catskills. I remember it being cold. My ankles hurt. I fell. A lot.
My MIL has taken Girl ice-skating a couple of times, but I had no desire to revisit those no-fun cold ankle pain memories. But then, Girl was invited to an ice skating birthday party for one of her friends. It would be held in an outdoor rink that I had always passed and thought - that looks like fun. Like Rockefeller Center Lite. The party was on a school holiday and I planned to take off from work anyway. I also thought this might be a great opportunity to introduce Boy (5) to ice-skating. Hey, this would be good clean fun, right?
Of course this meant that I would need to get back on the ice. Now, I often feel much younger than my actual years, and sometimes feel there's no way I could be old enough to have kids, but if there's one dimension I feel old, it's athletics. I nearly maim myself everytime I run now. So, you can imagine the concern I had over putting on a pair of shoes with sharp knives on them and then trying to glide on ice. Pride? Yeah, there was a little of that at stake, but mainly my joints and bones and blood.
When we got there, I helped Girl into her rental skates, kneeling next to a grandmother type helping her grandchild put skates on. "Now remember," she said all serious like, "if you fall, get your hands off the ground right away so someone doesn't run over them and cut your fingers off." Holy crap. Where's the ambulance parked? Maybe those fingers on ice had a decent chance of being reattached.
Girl went out to join her friends, some already skating, while I slowly took my time getting Boy and me in our gear. We waddled outside to the rink and edged ourselves out onto the ice while holding onto the wall. Er, precarious much?
It challenged my gravity immensely; not only was I remembering how to balance, but I was trying to keep Boy from eating ice at every other moment. He took to almost running with his skates while holding onto the sides and I just tried to keep up with him. But amazingly, it started to feel halfway fun - I wasn't needing the sides and despite being pulled with each of Boy's falls, I didn't fall. The chances I had to skate independently (e.g. go across the rink to help Girl), I cherished and took the long way around. FUN. It was all I could do to ditch him and skate along happily by myself to Kelly Clarkson blaring on the audio system. Boy finally had enough of the wipeouts and the cold. And it was time for pizza.
We all changed back in our shoes and while walking to the restaurant, one of the moms who hadn't ventured onto the ice said, "You did so well! What are you, naturally athletic?"
I'm like the anti-athlete. But it felt good. Skating. Who knew? Maybe it's not all downhill from here.