I always loved roller skating as a kid. I don’t remember my first time on skates. Could I stand up on them for more than a second? How much did I fall? Was I nervous? None of that is registered in my brain (and I remember everything to a fault some times!). What I do remember about skating was that sense of freedom I had on those wheels. I loved that feeling.
When my daughter began to show interest in roller skating towards the end of the past summer, I was already picking out skates and gear for her in my mind. I could not wait to see her give it a try.
We went to one of the only roller rinks around us earlier this week. It was the same place I had gone to growing up.
As soon as I walked through the doors, I felt a rush of nostalgia. For better or worse, it was exactly the same. They hadn’t changed anything about the place since I had last set foot in that building back in 1994! My daughter and I walked hand in hand to the back to get her rental skates (that’s the “for worse” I referred to earlier! Gross!). She was so excited watching the adults and kids skating around. Lots of smiles, lots of stumbling, lots of graceful strides, some tears but lots of fun going around in that rink.
After we got the skates and sat down to put them on, the moment of truth arrived. Before I could even blink, my little one briskly got up, eager to get going. Okay, first fall of the day. She looked disappointed but I assured her that there would be falls today and that it’s okay. Her face broke into a smile and we practiced a little holding onto the wall.
“Lets go out there!”, she cried.
So off we went, my husband and I on either side, holding her hands. She flailed about, unsure what to do with her feet, but laughed all the way around the rink.
Then it happened.
My husband decided he wanted to try guiding her a different way. He stood behind her, holding both hands. Then SPLAT! The two of them hit the floor hard. Both of them began to get up too quickly. Again, SPLAT!
Then the tears came. And they didn’t stop for 30 minutes. After inspecting a huge bruise on her inner thigh and declaring she would never put skates on again, we left the rink.
Later that evening, when the fresh fears of the day had settled in a little, my daughter told me that she really liked the roller skating part of our outing. She explained that she didn’t like the falling part. I listened to her and comforted her fears with a lot of “it’s okay to be scared”s and “we can try again whenever you’re ready”s. We laid there in the dark for a while in silence. Suddenly, she whispered….
“Maybe I will get my wings soon and fly. You always say you have to fall first to learn how to fly.”
Just when I think she never listens to the things I tell her, she surprises me in the best way possible. Sure she might not listen when I utter chores to do or tell her to eat her dinner. But she sure listens to the really important things. The things I always want her to remember. The things that I hope she will carry with her even into her adulthood.
So despite the failed roller skating outing, the day on the whole turned out to be a huge success. I hope if she does remember this day, the recollection of the fall will fade with time. And the words she reiterated to me will be the lasting memory.