A couple of weeks ago, Heather and I took a little afternoon jaunt and went ice skating. Oh my goodness, definitely the highlight of January for me. (Which isn't saying much--January wasn't exactly a stellar month this time around (is it ever?), but still--every month needs a highlight, right?)
Anyway, we had an interesting time. Ice skating isn't exactly my most developed talent, and I was a little apprehensive about how I'd do until I got my "ice legs", particularly when I would have a little girl hanging on my hand(s) all the way.
The answer to that question is, "Not well." We made it about ten skate steps before I saw that there were kids with walkers out on the ice, and decided that was the answer for us as well. We immediately but tenuously turned around, headed back to the front desk, laid out two buck-a-roonies for walker rental, and headed back on the ice.
Best two bucks I ever spent.
From the moment she got her walker, Heather was in love with ice skating and she was all smiles, all courage, all fun. She swooped from one side of the ice to the other, beaming, laughing, smiling, dancing, and singing. Honestly, that girl was nothing less than a forty-pound ball of skating joy. Watching her enjoy herself so fully drove all thoughts of aching ankles, pinched toes, and all other middle-aged physical hardships completely from my mind*, and we skated, nearly non-stop for two hours.
Heather can hardly wait until we go back. I'm looking forward to it as well, although by the time you rent skates and the walker and pay for the ice time, it ends up being the kind of thing that we can't exactly swing every weekend (unfortunately). All the same, we'll be back. It might take us a while, but we'll definitely be back.
As I anticipate it though, something tells me that watching Heather discover ice skating for the first time was something special, something with happy aspects I won't see again on the second or third or tenth time. I'm tempted to be saddened about this---she is growing up much too fast for my taste after all---but when you come down to it, even if I only get to experience her first skate one time, the fact is, I got to be there the first time. I saw that joy, I felt that happy pride, I was a part of it all. That's big, bigger than I ever expected it to be.
The whole experience reminds me of the thoughts and feelings I had about my motherhood journey when I wasn't even two weeks into it all. Back then, I was almost in awe of the idea that now I had this little girl to live with me, to stay with me, a girl who would look to me and her father for direction, care, love, you name it. The more I realized that, the more in love I was with the idea of it all, and then as it all unfolded, with the absolute reality of it all as well.
Four plus years later? It is one million times better than I ever imagined it could be.
*I did sweet-talk my way into a loooong foot-rub from the master of massage that is Eric later on in the evening though. Thank heaven!