Susan's Blog

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Skating Away

You know, I say that I hate field trips. I bitch and moan about signing the permission slips, doling out the $3.50 or whatever it costs, checking off the “yes I will chaperone” box. Thinking of what I won’t get to do because I have to go to the Science Museum and look at the dinosaur or the waves exhibit, or go to the Aquarium, around and around until you finally get to see the sharks. I’m sorry, it is one of my (many) failings as a mother. I love my boys, I don’t like class trips.

Well, today changed my mind. Not your average field trip at all. Benji’s class went ice skating at a nearby outdoor rink with their fifth grade buddy class. He did not want to skate, and was dead set against it, as only Benji can be. Remember, “normal but stubborn” was his official Children’s Hospital of Boston diagnosis. Well, my unofficial diagnosis is “determined pain in the butt.” I was determined that he try it; it had been at least two years since he skated last, a debacle if I’ve ever seen one. He was frozen; he couldn’t move in all his layers; he used milk crates to push himself around but couldn’t stand up right with them. He hated it.

I told him, “Look, I’m not that good at skating either.” A true statement if there ever was one. I have always push off with only my right leg. I cannot use my left foot for some reason. “We’ll hold each other up.” So he agreed, at last.

We suited up and ventured out onto the ice, clawing at each other for balance. I pressed my blades into the ice just to stay up, every muscle tensed, as he hung onto me, sliding through my legs and off to the side. He did not fall, though. I gradually eased us over to the side and we half-skated, half-leaned our way against the wall over to the milk crate practice area. His fifth grade buddy, Esteban, was a really nice kid who showed him how to do it. His teacher, Ms. Donovan, was her usual sweet and encouraging self, snapping pictures of every good move he managed. One time he even went backwards — not meaning to — and was okay!

Satisfied that he had mastered it, he went inside for a hot chocolate and to draw. Little B!!!! I’m so proud of my Beastie.

And then — I went out on the ice alone! I glided around with my one foot, hoping no one would notice. Eventually I thought, “Hey, I’m a belly dancer. How hard could this be, using my other foot, too?” So I tentatively extended Leftie and pushed. Okay. I went a little faster. Pushed Right, then weaker Left. Then Right. Glided. I watched Maria, another mom, teaching little Gabriele how to push off to the sides. I shakily tried it. Yes!

Maria turned and started joking with me. I turned and — boom! Down on my butt and back, whacked my head on the ice — actually bounced it! Saw stars for a nanosecond.

“Are you alright?” asked Maria and Meghan, another mom.
I smiled sheepishly. “Yeah, but my head hurts.”
“You’ll probably feel it later,” said Meghan, concerned.
“It’s gonna leave a mark, that’s for sure!” I joked, thinking that the wet was not good for my poor shearling coat. But hey, it survived a large Sprite, so what’s a little packed ice? I got right up, and did another round, determined to get back up on the horse. (Stupid horse.) My head throbbed a little but I was otherwise fine. Nothing a little soak later on in the hot tub wouldn’t cure.

I glided around, trying out my “new” technique of pushing to the sides, right, left, right, glide. Very smooth. I kept my knees soft, just like in dancing. The sun was bright, and it actually felt warm, so I took off my hat. I could have tossed it, like Mary Tyler Moore. A perfect morning.


Sounds like a good work out in more ways that one – hopefully a bruise under the hairline won’t show!

— added by Maddy on Wednesday, January 31, 2007 at 5:17 pm

Skating is good for the thighs. Hope your head’s ok.

Oh, good color dress on you.

Did Benji have a good time too?

— added by Someone Said on Wednesday, January 31, 2007 at 6:59 pm

Sorry you bumped your head (ouch!), but glad to hear the rest of it went well.

Enjoy the hot tub!

— added by Julia on Wednesday, January 31, 2007 at 10:30 pm