Other than half an hour, nearly a year ago, in plain street shoes, it’s probably been over a decade — maybe two — since I skated, and my experience has been confined mostly to gripping the wall and trying not to fall at friends’ birthday parties.  I never really took to skating — I was always really afraid to fall (because it HURTS) and I didn’t do it often enough to really get any skill at it.  I like it, in theory — as in, when other people do it.  Although I don’t know much about it, it seems like the kind of thing I might like to know more about.  It’s a lot like dancing, and it’s a physical pursuit about strength, grace, balance and precision — seems like it might be my kind of thing.  Besides, it’s (sometimes) and outdoor activity, and I like to be outdoors.  I like to be active.  It’s part of my nature.  Riding and dancing are my favorite physical pursuits.  Riding I’m passionate about and dancing I truly love.  But I love doing anything outdoors, and I love to move and accomplish physical things.  It’s fun to me.

Today, we took the kids ice skating.  B & I went last year (with our friends Pam and Joshua, who were visiting) but Dan and Liam missed out because they were sick.  We’d never been to this particular place before, but when I heard about it a few weeks ago it seemed like just the thing to feel festive on Thanksgiving weekend, so we all went today — me, Dan, Benjamin, Liam and Jo.  The *idea* of skating really appealed to me, but as we rented our skates and got them on, I started to get intensely worried.  I’m far from an expert and the kids would need my help.  Would I fall and squish one of the kids?  Would I be able to do it at all?  Would I have to cling to the wall, unable to help the kids?  Was this some horrible mistake???

As it turns out, it was no problem at all.  After a nervous moment of negotiating stepping onto the ice, helping an overly confident Benjamin onto the ice, and wriggling under the rope that sectioned off the “kids area” from the rest of the skaters, we did just fine.  Dan skated with Liam, and I skated around with B.  We went slowly at first, but he gained confidence quickly.  I held his hand, held him up when needed, caught him many times, helped him up when I failed to catch him.  After a while, we found him a practice penguin, and as he got bold enough to try it on his own, I went over and checked on Liam and Dan, and then skated around with B some more.  (B is amazing and brave and likes to go FAST!)  After a while, we abandoned the penguin to another child who needed it and bravely skated once all the way around the grown up area.  B actually fell a lot MORE after the penguin — he had ramped up his confidence by more than he had increased his skill — but I managed all of it with no problem.  I didn’t have to hold on to the wall, I didn’t fall, I didn’t even lose my balance.  It was pretty great, especially considering I actually had no idea what I was doing.

In all, we had a great day.  Liam got tired before Benjamin did.  We skated for about an hour, watched the Zamboni clean up the ice, and headed home, worn out but very happy, and with another adventure added to our collective history.  For me, it was not only a fun activity to share together, but it was a great reminder that even though I’m short, and currently kind of fat, I do ok with things like this.  I love to physical things and challenging things.  I like getting winded, and waking up the next day with sore muscles.  I love doing something that is hard to do.  I’m pretty good at learning new stuff.  I’m strong, persistent, and kind of brave.  I need to find a way to do something fun and active here.  Today, we had a great time.  B would have stayed all day — and I would have, too.

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