Thursday, December 23, 2010

Learning to Skate

It took a couple times tying up the laces to make sure the boot was on tight enough.  Then the coat was zipped up, hat pulled down, and gloves slipped on. 
Carefully she stood up.  It was like learning to walk all over again.  She was so wobbly. 
Hesitantly, she took a step forward, and immediately I help out my hand to steady her.  She held on so tight.  Trying to balance on that thin little blade was so hard and a little scary for her.
The boys stood close by waiting, somewhat patiently for Little Princess to be ready to head over to the ice-skating rink.  It was all of their first times going ice-skating.
Dad took Little Princesses hand, and helped her on to the ice.  She clung to him.  She was terrified the moment her feet slipped on the slick ice.  She had no idea what to think of it.  She didn’t cry out, or protest this new experience, just held on tight to Dad who she knew wouldn’t let her get hurt, but her eyes showed her concern. 
One small step.  Balance.  One more small step. Slip.  Dad holds her so she doesn’t fall.  Both her hands are clasped tightly onto Dad’s.  Hesitantly trusting him.  And slowly they continue and repeat the process.  Slowly they make their way around the rink.

Droid who just turned 10 was fearless.  He stepped on the ice, didn’t even reach for the wall, and took a surprisingly smooth first glide.  He was a natural… and he was gone.
Oz, who is now 7, was giddy with nervous energy.  He couldn’t wait to get on the ice, but he wasn’t going to try it alone.  His eyes told me that, and he didn’t need to ask me to stay with him.  I secure my camera around my neck, and reach for his waiting hand.  He squeezes back, and holds on as we both take that shockingly slick first step onto the ice.  We both wobble a little.  I brace my legs to hold my balance while I help him stabilize his own.  It amazes me how much he leans on me, how much he relies on me to keep my balance, so that he won’t loose his own.  He’s so unaware of my own self doubt.
As we slowly make our way around the rink, the smiles are ever present.  Every face that goes by from those who are flying by, those clinging to the wall, and even while many fall, there is laughter, and smiles, and hands holding hands, helping each other feel secure. 
We took our time, and I didn’t try to rush Oz as he slowly built his confidence.  I loved this moment.  This was new experience for him, and for me. 
As Dad and I took turns helping Little Princess and Oz learn how to skate, I was learning a lesson of my own. 
My children are so willing to cling to me, and they rely on me to be firm and steady so when they wobble, I am there for them to hold onto.  I learned that teaching takes time, and when I’m not in a hurry to run off and do my own thing, teaching them, and watching their eyes light up as they learn, is so enjoyable.  I didn’t care how long it took to get around the rink.  It wasn’t a race.  Each step we took together was a moment of smiles with the snow falling on our faces, and laughter when we both got a little wobbly. 
It was a perfect moment.
By the time it was time to go home Oz had let go of me, and was ready to try it on his own.  He ran on the ice more than skated on it.  I had never seen little feet move so fast.  But he didn’t fall.  He was so proud of his accomplishment.  He could skate on his own.  I was so happy for him.  I knew how hard he had worked to get to that point. 


Later that day we drove an hour to meet up with some friends from medical school.  We are both in our second year of residency now, and it can be pretty hard sometimes.  The kids played in the McDonalds play gym while us adults chatted away.  The evening flew by, and all too soon it was time to drive home.
It’s always hard to say good-bye to friends you’ve relied on so much.  Through all 4 years of medical school we were blessed with a group of 4 other couples that we grew very close too.  We shared Thanksgiving dinners, Halloween candy, New Years, Birthday’s, Baby showers, and hours upon hours of study time together.  There is a bond that was forged that is almost indefinable.  We really became a med-school family.  We leaned on each other.  We held onto each other, and supported each other.  We learned how to make it together.  Letting go and moving off on our own was so hard. 
I’ve found new friends that help me so much, but there are times that I feel wobbly and unsure.  Visiting with our Columbus friends help me get my feet back underneath me again.  I’m reminded that I know how to do this.
One small step at a time.  It’s okay to move slowly.  It’s not a race.  I need to slow down and enjoy the moments more.  The wind on my face as I glide on the ice, the smiles that are always surrounding me, the laughter, even when one falls down.  It’s okay to fall, just laugh, get up, and keep on skating.

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