Lacing Up

Dani & James have been taking the boys public skating every Friday evening. I love that they’ve started this tradition. It’s an inexpensive outting that the whole family gets to enjoy and look forward to.

The kiddos have been home over the holidays. Jamers is working hard so they can stay to pay the bills (when you’re all of a sudden on disability, ya kinda take a hit). What this means is very early mornings and long days for Dani. 

Jamers leaves the house at 6:30 am. The boys are up before then – assuming GarBear sleeps at all the night before. Dani’s exhausted and looking for things to do to keep them busy.

Today I decided to meet up with them and lace up the skates – which have been doing nothing but gathering dust for the last few years. The public skate at the Goulbourn Rec Centre is scheduled for 1:00. I get to the house around 12:15. Gar greets me at the door with his snow suit on. Wow – she’s actually ready to go. 

Wait a second – where’s Dani? And Poot? And why is there a pot on the stove? It only takes about 2 seconds before I realize we’re not making it for 1. 

Gar leads me around to his bedroom. Dani comes out of hers. “Oh hi” as she goes on to explain they had been out and Gar fell asleep so she brought him in from the car and put him to bed in his snowsuit. 

“I’m just making lunch. Want some kraft dinner?” 

Ahhhhh, this is the Dani I know. “Sure, if there’s enough” as I take Gar’s snowsuit off.

We chat in the kitchen and catch up a bit. She looks exhausted. Anderson comes up from downstairs with his cousin. At 12:35 we sit down for lunch. 

I contemplate offering to take the kids on my own but I’m not a strong enough skater to manage a stroller, Poot who is learning to skate and S (the cousin), who I have no idea what her abilities are like. Three kids are just way too much for my first time on skates in six years. I’m flooded with guilt as I know she needs a break. 

The rink is just around the corner. After scarfing down our lunch we’re on our way. I take the kids to get them geared up while Dani battles the ridiculously long line to pay. Apparently every parent in Stittsville decided to bring their kid(s) skating today.

I help Anderson with his skates. S just sits there.  Huh, I thought you knew how to skate.  Dani arrives. “What, you don’t have them laced up yet?”  Breath. Remember your goal on patience.

Anderson sees a buddy and he’s off. I put my skates on while Dani helps S. All kids need a helmet. S doesn’t have one so I give her mine – my safety net. Sweet geezus there are a lot of kids out there.

The girls glide effortlessly onto the ice (assuming effortlessly looks the two-step shuffle after a few too many pops). Very quickly it occurs to both Dani and I that S doesn’t know how to skate. At all. Holy sh*t this was a bad idea.

I do a couple of laps to try to get my legs under me. I am freaking out inside as kids whip by me. Is there not a gawd-damn max capacity out here?  Where are you freakin’ parents telling you to slow down??

It’s not long before I’m thinking this was a bad idea. I try to relax and just enjoy it. I find Poot in the sea of kids and decide to scoot around with him for a bit.

Dani is stuck with S as she holds on to the boards shuffling along. After a bit I go over to give her a break so she can skate with Poot.

S and I inch around the visitors end. Really just standing there. WHAM!!! I am on my ass with the blade of my skate inches from Dani’s face and my head bouncing off the ice.

WTH just happened? An 11 or 12 year old was skating with his younger bro and watching him. He didn’t see me (not sure how as I was just STANDING there) and took me out. I try with everything I have in me but I react. “You need to watch where you’re going.”

In fairness, the kid was totally apologetic. Kept asking, “are you OK?  I’m so sorry. Are you OK ma’am?” Great. Now I’m ma’am.

“I’m fine (other than my bruised ego). Just watch where you’re going.”

The whistle finally blows and I am thankful skating is over. My head hurts. I want to go home. Or shopping.

I don’t do either though. Instead, we go back to Dani’s where we drink hot chocolate with whipped cream and sprinkles. We chat and play with the boys. I don’t think I’ve ever acted this silly – at least not while sober. And it’s liberating in a way. No holds barred.

James gets home. We all have a beer. Laugh. Continue to be silly. Leaving the disaster of a skate behind us.

Cheers to being a kid again.


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