I signed my two younger kids up for a learn to skate program. It is also a hockey program so we dress them up in the full equipment, including those adorable shoulder thingies and hit the ice.
It says 'Learn to Skate' in the program guide and yet most kids get on the ice and skate quickly and aggressively around the rink.
My kids immediately fall down - again and again.
I'm not sure how we got to this point where my kids are eight and five and can't skate. I can't skate so I am a terrible role model, but my husband is a good skater and has taken them out a couple of times. My 11-year-old broke his arm skating four years ago and has refused to go back on the ice, so it has never been a happy tear-free family outing. On top of that we ski on weekends, so skating has sort of fallen to the wayside.
The other kids continue to race around and do hockey stops. My kids continue to do a series of pratfalls that are both hilarious and heartwrenching to watch. My husband and I are peeking through our hands as if we were watching a horror movie.
And yet, they get up after each fall. They take a few more skate-steps and keep going. My son has a moment where it comes together and he rounds the pylon - then SPLAT again. Their focus, their determination it brings tears to my eyes.
I don't understand how this learn to skate program is populated by kids who could teach me to skate. Until another mother told me that some kids who play Select Hockey are here too. "Ice time is ice time" I am told.
But it doesn't matter to my kids that they are falling over and over, that they are the worst in the class. They want to skate and nothing will stand in their way. They get off the rink with huge smiles and a few bruises. "I can't wait for next week," says my daughter.
I was reminded of that amazing quality that kids have that sometimes we adults lack: courage. My kids show more courage than me almost every day.They are willing to try new things and get hurt doing it. They aren't humiliated by failure, and they enjoy a challenge.
I still have a lot to learn. Maybe I will take a skating lesson.
(This kind of reminds me of my friend Sharon DV who has taken up speed skating after a lifetime of not skating as a means of reconnecting with herself.)
Want more chaos? Last year, I wrote about when I got a panicked call from a friend whose son had seen some stuff online that he shouldn't have.