If anyone would have told me that what started out as a fun and innocent evening would turn into one of the most challenging nights of my life; I wouldn't have believed them.
Tonight our school held an event at Great Skate; and because Nicky is on student council, he needed to attend. As none of my kids had ever skated before, nor showed any interest in skating; I told them that they could use their admission price to buy tokens rather than rent skates; because that's what my friend Jen; (who's one of the student council advisors,) had told me.
As soon as we entered the building, each of my kids saw friends from school. They went to go play games; and I sat with Jen. Being at the roller rink brought back a lot of memories for me; as back in the day, I was a big (say it with me) "HUGE," fan of disco roller skating. All of a sudden the lights were turned down, and there were disco lights galore; and a remix of "ring my bell" blaring over the sound system. At one point they played Debbie Deb's "When I hear music," and I was transported back to Studio 59 for a midnight roller skating session.
It didn't take very long for my kids to use up most of their tokens; so I anticipated an early exit. But then all of a sudden, Lyndzi looked like she was about to cry; and I've told you many times before; Lyndzi isn't really a crier. I asked Lyndzi what was wrong, and she said "nothing;" but I know her better than that; and the expression on her face, told me that there was definitely something bothering her. After several minutes of prodding; Lyndzi said "roller skating looks fun." I said "it is." And then she said that she wanted to try skating. I asked if she'd be willing to spend her own money to do so, since I'd already paid for them to get in; and after thinking about it for a minute or two; she said that she would pay; and Nicky and Kelsie agreed as well.
I'm not quite sure how I went from no one wanting to skate, to everyone wanting to skate; but that's exactly what happened. All three kids took out their money and went to get skates, but they came back cash in hand, because the person at the skate rental told them that they didn't have to pay for skates since they paid to get in. I told them that they did have to pay, because they had gotten tokens rather than skates, for their entrants fee; and I went to the office and paid the additional $5 per child.
Nicky and Lyndzi got their skates on. Kelsie had to wait for Lyndzi to finish so that she could borrow her socks; as she hadn't worn any. Nicky looked a little shaky, and I accompanied him across the carpet until he got on the rink; and he actually made it around the skating floor on the first attempt. I then tried to help Lyndzi; but she proved to be a lot more challenging. Lyndzi could barely stand up on the skates, and I found that I had to hold onto her so tightly to keep her from falling, that I was afraid that I was going to break her arm. Lyndzi tried to remain upright, but was having a very tough time.
I was watching Lyndzi like a hawk, and I noticed a dad that was in shoes, not skates; and he was assisting his son, out on the rink; so I decided to do the same. This may not have been my brightest idea, because I was wearing flip flops as usual; and my toes were not prepared or protected for what happened next.
I tried several different approaches to helping Lyndzi, and after a few minutes; the DJ announced that parents without skates, who were trying to help kids, had to go in the center of the rink. Lyndzi and I made it there successfully, and although Lyndzi fell numerous times; and smashed my toes more times than I could count; I thought that she had made some progress. We got off of the rink as the DJ turned the lights down lower, and advised that for this song you needed to have something that was glow in the dark, in order to participate. This gave us a reprieve. Lyndzi decided to take a break and lend Kelsie her socks. Kelsie had been waiting very patiently; and as I tried to help her skate across the carpet; I was hopeful that she would be the one that skating would be easier for; but alas I was wrong.
I helped Kelsie from the carpet to the rink, but cutting across the floor to get to the center, was almost impossible. I managed to get Kelsie to the middle of the rink with the skate guards assistance; but once we arrived there, Kelsie was frustrated. I tired not to make a big deal about getting kicked, and rolled over; but I failed miserably; because after the umteenth time; I blew. I didn't yell at Kelsie, but I definitely lost my patience. I was almost in tears because my legs and feet were hurting so badly; but Kelsie WAS in tears; and that just made me feel worse. Kelsie felt responsible for hurting me and she desperately wanted to get off of the skating floor; but the crowd was bigger and moving faster, and it was even more difficult than getting on. As Kelsie and I tried our best to get across the floor; I remember thinking to myself, "I hate this; I absolutely hate this." By the time we got off the skating floor; Kelsie was in full blown hysterics; and Lyndzi came running over and began to wail as well. Kelsie was sobbing and implored me to let her sit down right then and there so that she could get the skates off; but I told her that I would get her back to our table. I felt awful! It seemed to me, that I had failed my children in the worst kind of way. They deserved so much better than me tonight; and this thought hurt me more than any injury that I'd endured.
I begged the girls to stop crying and I did my best to assure them that they had done NOTHING wrong. I told them that I was so proud of them for attempting to skate, and for spending their own money to do so. I apologized for losing my patience, and for getting frustrated; and they excused it all. But I was still miserable. To know that I had been the cause of my children's pain; I felt ashamed. I wished that I could have handled the situation better; but I was exasperated. I was afraid that the kids were going to fall and get hurt. I was fearful that I was going to break their arms, with as tight as I had to hold onto them to keep them from falling; and I was in pain from my injuries.
It is true that I am my worst critic; and that I don't cut myself any slack; however, I am the first one to tell you when one of my kids does something remarkable; and I''ve been known to give myself a pat on the back as well; so being the Queen of FAIRNESS, I also have to tell you, when I have completely missed the mark.
As soon as we left the rink; I held my kids close and apologized profusely. They then started to cry and apologized as well. I begged them to believe that they had nothing to apologize for; and they tried to convince me of the same. Oh if ever it was possible to have a Do Over; tonight would be the night that I'd want to re-do. I don't know exactly what I would do differently; but whatever it is, it would be done in away that my children didn't feel guilty for wanting to try.
Oh how I wish tonight never happened. If only life were like a Disney movie, and I had a fairy Godmother who could wave a magic wand and make tonight go away. It's not that I have to be perfect; I just have to be better. Better than what I was; because they so deserve it.
I told the kids that I was so happy that they had given roller skating a try; and that if they had any interest in trying again; they could. I can only pray that this evening didn't make them afraid to try new things because without trying, you only insure that you fail.
Oh this one's gonna haunt me for a while; but hopefully a good dose of snuggling will make it somewhat better for everyone.
Till next time...
Queen of EVERYTHING