I am struggling with peeling my son off of his devices. It seems that his eyeballs are glued to a screen. He takes his phone into the bathroom and is on it now while waiting for the game on the TV to load. I cajole and nag and it does no good. It seems that the best way to get him away is to get him out of the house entirely. That is a whole other project.
This past weekend I wanted him to get out and do something. A friend told us that the town up from my mom was opening its outdoor ice rink and that teens could skate for free. The only drawback to this plan was that it was very cold. And not “I used to live in Hawaii fifty degree cold” but real actual wind chill cold. We arrived at the ice rink and my son was expressing his usual teen anxiety around someone potentially being there who he might know. The folks skating all seemed to be too old or too young to be someone who might cause him angst. We cruised past and he was a “no”. Then we continued walking and he talked himself into it. We went back to the skate rental area to figure out his size. Then he told me that he would not skate alone and wanted me to get on the ice too. I can’t lie. I don’t love ice skating. The ice is cold and hard. So we were a no again. And headed back out.
Out on the dock we met up with my friend Joe and told him our sad tale. It was very cold so he suggested roller skating instead. We were up for anything that was inside. We walked over and the roller “rink” seemed to actually be a ballroom floor. It is in the American Legion building. Around the sides of the skating area there is a skate rental, a snack bar and some seating areas.
The skates are the big four wheeled ones with a giant rubber stopper on the front. We got our skates and Joe and I headed out to the floor. My son, who I belatedly realized has actually never skated before, was pretty reluctant to head out. I was too in a way. I grew up roller skating but haven’t actually skated in some time.
When I first got out on the floor, the skates felt really heavy. My form was really bad. I felt wobbly. I felt like I could not lift up my left foot to push off. It made me feel off balance. There were little children falling all over the floor. And some of them did not follow the rules of the road, as it were. My son eventually ventured onto the floor using a roller skating walker (just like the kind for ice skating but on wheels). And using this device, which he fought me on initially, he was able to get the skating motion down. By the time that we left, he was feeling a little bit accomplished.
For me, I just kept skating. And kept skating. And soon, my left foot was coming off the ground. And I was feeling more confident. And I just kept skating. The folks on the floor started to thin out. And I just kept skating. The music playing ranged all over the place. And I just kept skating. And it all just smoothed out. Literally and figuratively. And I skated and skated. And it made me really happy. And it was really fun. And I can’t wait to go back. It was just pure enjoyment. Pure happiness. I don’t know if it subconsciously brought back the carefreeness of my childhood. Or if the motion acted like a bit of meditation on my brain. Or if when I go back, I won’t be able to reconnect with that feeling of joy. Like when you have the best meal ever but when you go back for that thing, it is just not as good as you remember. Maybe skating will be like that. But I hope not. I’m going back next weekend (when dry January is over) for the adult skate. To get my joy on.