Monday, January 14, 2013
Before you are a parent, there are milestones that you fantasize about reaching with your unborn children.
Fathers-to-be dream about playing catch with their sons, teaching them to ride bikes and shoot a BB gun. Mothers dream about girls' days spent with their daughters, snuggling on the sofa and watching romantic comedy marathons, shopping for prom dresses, planning a wedding.
These are moments you look forward to when your newborn baby is screaming his way through a 3 a.m. bout of colic, and when your sweet little princess hasn't made it to the potty in time all day.
For my husband, Zeb, one of those moments he looked forward to since before we even had kids was ice skating with his children. For the last few years, anytime we have been relatively close to an ice rink, he has suggested we take the girls.
Having personally taken our daughters rollerskating on several occasions, I've discouraged his ice skating dreams. Trying to hold our girls upright on roller skates while I'm in tennis shoes is difficult – they've almost dislocated my shoulder more than once. But attempting to hold them upright on ice-skates, while wearing ice-skates seemed like a good way for someone to be seriously injured.
I was surprised when I took two of my daughters ice skating for a friend's birthday party that Aubrey and Emma, 8 and 6 years old respectively, could actually ice skate.
They have logged a fair amount of time on roller skates at our local rec center, which is the only thing I could think of to attribute to the fact that they were able to stand upright without my assistance. Finding a new activity for my children that requires minimal parental assistance is right up there with winning the lottery as far as I'm concerned. I was elated.
I saw the gleam in my husband's eyes when I told him that the girls could skate on their own. So this weekend when we found ourselves at my mother's house in Birmingham, we jumped on the opportunity to take them ice-skating.
Here's the thing we didn't take into account – our 3-year-old. I'm not sure what went wrong in my thought process when planning this magical family outing, but I completely forgot that Sadie was even a factor.
I was quickly reminded of her presence when wrestling ice skates onto her tiny feet, when trying to tie her skates while she was trying to stand up in them and when she tried to walk in the skates to the rink.
My blood pressure was reaching the danger zone by the time we all made it to the ice. Aubrey and Emma held on to the wall for a few laps, gaining their bearings. Sadie held onto one of my hands with both of hers and hung like a monkey, her feet sliding in five different directions simultaneously.
It took every bit of core strength I had to remain upright. My nurse's brain went down the mental checklist of all the possible ways we could injure each other. I hoped that she was as miserable as I was.
I would have been content to sit on the bleachers and feed her concession stand snacks until the rest of the family was ready to go but she loved it. Sadie giggled and squealed as she writhed on the ice, slipping and sliding all over the place.
Zeb made a few laps with the big girls and made his way to Sadie and me, with her daddy on her left and me on her right, we gingerly made our way around the ice. Sadie's feet alternated between being two feet in front of her body, or spread three feet apart. She giggled and smiled the entire time.
By the time we made our way to a place to exit the ice, Zeb and I were panting and sweating. Sadie said, “Again. I want to do that again.”
It took $15 worth of concession stand junk food to bribe her off the ice. She sat in my lap, singing along to the Christmas music piped in on the sound system and I took a deep breath.
I hoped that the same selective memory that allowed me to plan such a questionable family outing would erase the panic and frustration I felt on the ice.
I hope in 10 years, when I look back at this day, all I will remember is the feel of her warm weight in my lap, the sound of her sweet baby voice singing carols at the top of her lungs and the look of sheer delight on her face when her Daddy and I spun her around on the ice one more time.
(Robin O'Bryant is an author, humorist and speaker. Her latest book is “Ketchup is a Vegetable and Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves.” Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter and visit her blog at RobinsChicks.com.)