Daughter is one of those cautious types who doesn’t take readily to new ideas. This has been particularly true with sports. Over the years she has repeatedly insisted, quite emphatically at times, that she has no interest in swimming, skiing, or skating.
We conquered the skiing issue last winter when she discovered the thrill of tubing and then begrudgingly agreed to a one-day ski lesson with her friends. And although despite doing very well she ended that day declaring that it was “boring” and she didn’t want to do it “ever again”, this year she has turned around and decided that it will be fun to go skiing again.
Last winter I took the kids up to the top of a local mountain for a Christmas-themed adventure and one of the activities offered was skating on a little outdoor rink. It was just me with two kids who had never set foot on skates and I couldn’t keep them both supported enough for them to feel comfortable. After about 10 minutes they started crying and we returned our skates. It didn’t leave a good impression on either of them; fortunately Son was only 3 and doesn’t seem to remember his experience anymore. He has been enthusiastic enough about skating this year to have received a set of Bob Skates for Christmas.
Up until today, Daughter has insisted that she did not want to skate and would bring some books to read on the sidelines while we all headed out onto the ice. But this morning when I informed her that we’d be skating, I didn’t even get to that part before she said with a sigh and rolling eyes “Okay, I’ll skate”.
Well she had a blast! The kids each had one of those carts and after five minutes of me pushing her around she told me she didn’t need my help anymore. Within half an hour she was blasting all over the place. Sure, her technique was a bit more “walking on ice” rather than skating, but she was able to steer and stop fairly well, and was really enjoying travelling at high speeds, even trying a few “no hands” moments.
My boy did very well, too, though he only lasted about 30 minutes before he got too tired. Still, he’s eager to do it again and I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before he’ll be confident enough to switch to single blade skates and start taking lessons.
I myself had a fabulous time – I feel like I’ve been waiting forever for this type of thing, the family all together doing something that everybody likes to do. But seeing my little girl racing around with a big smile on her face, glowing cheeks, and proclaiming that when she grew up she wanted to be a skater…well that was priceless.
And I have to give myself a big ol’ pat on the back here too – people (and by that I mean mostly well-meaning relatives) kept trying to tell me that I should put her in skating/skiing/swimming whether she said she wanted to or not. In fact they seemed to think it very strange that I was actually taking her opinion into consideration at all. A few suggested that she would “never” try these things if I didn’t push her. But I was confident that she would come around, and that pushing the issue would not only inhibit that process, but compromise her trust in me and create a great deal of unnecessary conflict. Seeing her out there enjoying herself today and hearing her asking when we can go again was the best form of validation!