Yesterday I took Nathan roller skating for the first time. I used to go all the time, but I hadn't been in at least 20 years. I went to a place about 20 miles from my house. It happened to be the same place my grandfather used to skate at weekly, even in his 80s. He skated there up until 3 months before his death in 2006. This family has some pretty big skates to fill, so to speak.
It turns out that even though I haven't had wheels on my feet for decades, I can still skate. My girlfriends and I are talking about a skating night sans kids and I'm really looking forward to actual skating. Because I can tell you, what I did yesterday was not skating.
My son has never been on real skates. He's worn those ridiculous over the shoe things that don't actually roll and I contend that they don't count. He's never been in a rink and anyone who has skated outside as opposed to a rink will tell you that they are not at all the same thing.
I put the skates on the kid and he immediately did what any kid would do: He started messing around, falling off the bench and spinning the wheels. I helped him stand and try to get balance. But the minute we started moving, the child panicked.
He started "running" in the skates like a cartoon character on ice. No matter how many times my friend and I told him to stop moving his legs he wailed that he couldn't. And then he fell. But not before pulling my arm practically out of the socket.
My throat is raw from yelling over the music and children for him to calm down and just stand up. I've never in my life seen a child who can take something fun and react to it like he's being tortured.
Eventually I was able to explain about center of gravity, shoulders over feet, keep your knees bent (but not kneeling down) and all that other stuff that you need to know to not fall over on skates. He started to get it, but I still basically skated for an hour and a half while holding up a 43 pound child.
He fell many times, but I only fell three. And, expert skater that I am, I only fell because Nathan tripped me. It's really hard to skate with someone else's feet between yours, particularly when that someone else can't control his feet.
At one point, Nathan's wheels got caught in mine and I fell forward, knocking him to the floor. I didn't want to crush him, so I put my arms out to try and stay above him. When he stopped moving, I sat down to help him up. Then, as I tried to hold him upright while getting myself up (of course we were not near the wall at this point), I heard clapping and "You can do it!" being shouted in my direction. I looked and there was a tween sarcastically cheering me on.
I was feeling pretty young up to this point. That is, until, this girl who is young enough to be MY CHILD made fun of me, in public. I skated Nathan to the wall so he could take a break and make sure he was OK and I caught this older couple looking at me and giggling. They looked like they were probably the grandparents of a tween. I said, "Did that just happen?" and they nodded and laughed. I said I felt old and they laughed more.
I thought I would not be able to walk today from soreness. I'm actually not in too bad of shape. I'm not 100% mind you, but considering I also painted for 3 hours yesterday before the skating, I feel pretty good. That little girl can laugh at me all she wants. I'm teaching my kid to skate and that is no easy feat, especially my kid.
And before she knows it, she'll realize that youth is fleeting and you don't stay twelve for long. Soon enough, she'll hit her 30s, and maybe not be in such great shape. And I hope if she falls down, through no fault of her own, some tween girl gives her and her kid a hand to help them up, recognizing what a mom will go through for her child.
Wait, no. That's not true. I hope if she falls down, some kid laughs at her and claps and tries to make her feel like crap.