They were so excited to go ice-skating, I wasn’t about to stand in the way. And so, on our first full day of our annual trip to Tahoe this weekend, I waltzed L and R into the skate rental shop at the Village at Northstar and got us our skates.
“What’s it like, Daddy?” L asked.
“Are we gonna fall?” R followed-up, not even giving me a chance to respond to her sister’s query.
“It’s…fun,” I said, trying to be as convincing as possible. “We’ll take it slowly and I’m sure you girls are gonna love it.”
Before you start thinking about what a great dad I am, know this: I abhor ice skating, much like I despise a great many other winter sports. I don’t like the way the shoes feel on my feet, I can’t ever skate for more than three or four sweeps of my feet before I fall on my ass, and I’m SUPER neurotic about any sport during which I can fall and break my wrist and impact my life as a writer. There are an infinite number of things I’d rather do than ice-skate.
Yet there I was, wobbling my way over to the rink, desperately trying not to fall while I held the girls’ hands and tried to keep them from falling as well.
When we got to the entrance, a bunch of drunk dudes clapped to commemorate my successful walk from the bench where we laced up. The girls turned around and smiled. I was mortified but my kids had no clue. They were loving every minute of it.
Our “session” began with both girls trying to skate out into the middle of the rink—and both girls falling squarely on their butts in a matter of seconds. Neither got frustrated, but both looked to me for guidance. So I did what any other self-respecting parent would do in that situation: I encouraged them to “get comfortable” by holding on to the railing while they “skated” around the perimeter of the rink.
Around the rink we went, one-half skating, one-half walking. Every few panels of glass, one of the girls would slip and fall on the ice with a thud. Every time, the fallen child resumed the position of the afternoon and continued unabashedly.
When we finished our first lap, I asked the kids if they’d had enough. “NO!” they both shouted.
When we finished our second lap, I asked them again if they’d had enough. “No way Daddy!” they shouted.
When we finished our third lap, before I could even ask the girls how they were feeling, they both turned around and told me we were going to continue.
Mercifully, however, it was Zamboni time. Workers rushed onto the ice and guided everybody off. The girls and I followed suit. When we made it safely outside of the rink, Powerwoman convinced the kids to put their boots back on. Miraculously, we had survived, and nobody had chipped a tooth.
To say I was relieved by the sudden change in plans would be an understatement. But the girls were genuinely bummed. Even though they never really got the hang of ice-skating, the kids loved it. Even though I wasn’t much of an instructor in the rink, they were thankful and appreciative of the time I spent with them inside.
The whole experience was a lesson in opening the mind. The kids didn’t care that they didn’t “succeed” at this new sport. They had fun trying. They felt awesome doing it. And that was enough.
Moving forward, perhaps it can be enough for me, too.