After overindulging on super thick, gooey, raisin and cinnamon french toast at our local breakfast favorite, it was time to figure out what we were going to do on this wonderful Friday afternoon. Uncle B and Aunt O were lucky enough to come visit us during our four-day winter break. (Ha, seeing their shortened names in print just made me laugh, maybe I’ll start referring to them as B & O).
“How about roller skating?” I sheepishly suggested.
“It’s too scary in here!” she bellowed.
We left early.
The girls have since been at the rink a handful of times with friends, but still have not learned how to do more than pull themselves along the wall.
So, roller skating seemed like a good idea.
We finished up breakfast, strolled around our little downtown for an hour to work off the calories, and then hit the rink. The rink was open especially for Winter Break. The line only consisted of moms and elementary aged kids. Already things looked more promising than our first visit here together. Aunt O grew up skating as well. In fact, she was quite a proficient inline skater. However, she had never been inside a rink. All of her skating had been outside since she grew up in cities like New York and New Jersey. What I didn’t know, was that my brother didn’t know how to skate.
Aunt O and I got everyone laced up and standing upright. A few instructions were given about balance and body position. We even attempted a few laps in the “practice” rink before releasing everyone into the pool of moving bodies. To my surprise, The Tortoise was now able to make it around the rink all on her own, slowly, but without gripping the walls anymore. The Hare was still wobbly, but determined. We took several laps together, hand in hand, trying to avoid flailing arms and bodies passing us. I couldn’t help but notice all the moms standing around talking, totally engaged in their very animated conversations while their children were running amuck on the rink. Kids were cutting through the center, stopping unexpectedly in front of us, skating backwards to catch up with a friend and racing around the slower skaters like we were cones on a track. Several times the poor DJ had to remind the kids about proper roller rink etiquette. He even made a big announcement to remind parents that weaker skaters should have an adult with them or use the practice rink.
The Hare soon released my hand, then the wall and eventually could start making it around the rink on her own. She was quite impressed with herself, smiling and waving every time she would complete a lap.
“You go mom, ” she said, “I’ll catch up to you.”
It was sweet, but the truth was, I could skate a lap and a half before she would ever “catch up”, yet every time I came back to check on her she would say, “See, I knew I could catch up to you!”
The music was familiar, songs that blare down the hall in our house, escaping closed doors of my children’s rooms. But as I glided around the rink I couldn’t help but hear Depeche Mode, Erasure, INXS, Pet Shop Boys and Cheap Trick in my head. I was lost in thought when suddenly I felt my body being propelled forward, a force crashing in from behind. Tiny hands and feet tangled in mine. A helmet wearing and wrist guard clad child had used me as their landing strip. Apparently no one had taught them how to maneuver around the curves, or stop. We both scrambled to our feet and then she was off. No apologies either.
A few minutes later someone grabbed my hand for balance, and it wasn’t one of my children. Their stunned face stared blankly at me when I asked, “where’s your mommy?” And then they were off, leaving me with a very sticky, cotton candy smelling hand.
As I turned the corner, a couple of little boys collided in front of me as they tried to use each other for balance. Neither child appeared to know how to walk, let alone skate. I glanced to my right and saw another wobbly girl wearing knee pads. On my left was a couple of rollerblading boys trying to race each other, cutting through the middle of the rink and heading straight for the crash that had just happened an arm’s length in front of me. There was nowhere to go, no escape path. So I jumped over one of them, nearly taking out a little girl using the wall to drag herself around the rink.
I managed to make it unscathed.
I think I am going to petition for an all adult skate.
After two hours, we finally called it a day. Both of the girls were smiling and disappointed to leave. It is always far better to leave when no one wants to quit then stay well past the time everyone is ready to go home. Even Uncle B successfully completed several laps on his own.
“Did everyone have a good time?” I asked.
“It was so much fun, ” exclaimed Aunt O, “but I think it would have been even better without all those kids!”