Let me just go on a bit of a tangent here. I will reveal shortly why the following is relevant today. Approximately 5 years ago (within the month), I was dating this guy. The guy had told me on our first date that he had always wanted to go ice skating at the rink in the middle of the city. I remembered that. Little did he know that I used to ice skate ALL THE TIME.
I ice skated on the "pond" (really, it was a swamp), this ice prepared me well for figure skating later. The "pond" ice was bumpy, uneven and had plant life and other material interrupting its glazed surface. I had always loved playing hockey on the pond, but I was told by my Dad I was too small for hockey (he was probably right, I can thank him for still having possession of all my teeth). So instead, I was enrolled in figure skating. I did this for a couple of years. Kirsty Yamaguchi I wasn't. However, I got to the level that I could do jumps and spins and some of the cool stuff.
Fast forward to 5 years ago. That guy asked me what I wanted to do for our third date. I said, "Ice Skating". He seemed slightly reluctant, but I wasn't sure if he was reluctant to go on a third date? Well, we met up and he confessed that he had never really skated. Maybe once in Middle School. "Oh," I said, as we waited in line, "would you rather do something else." "No," he said and he immediately got "points" from me on the date bravery scoring system. He continues to, about once a year, (except when I was really pregnant) go skating with me. He is still uncertain on skates and is still a beginner, but I know by his forced bravery, how much he continues to love me.
Fast forward to today. My son does not like getting his haircut. My husband does not like shaggy hair. We discussed yesterday that maybe being that we had a holiday day today, we could get his haircut in the town square at this kid's haircut place he tolerates. I mentioned to my husband yesterday, "ooh, and we could go skating, I've wanted to go skating in the town square." My husband had a face somewhat akin to when I announced our third date plans. My son chimed in, "ice skating, want to go ice skating, want to get ice-skates." My husband then told me how cold it was going to be, yada, yada. I said, "well, let's see how good he is for his haircut and then we can see about going." I packed a ton of warm clothes, as did my husband, and we came prepared. He wasn't awesome for his haircut, but he said thank you to the barber and was marginally better than he was last time. He was playing with the toy trains happily at the salon and I said, "you can either continue to play with the trains here or go ice skating." He whipped on his jacket and was practically out the door.
Before I paid for the ice-skate rental and the fee to go on the ice, I asked the salespeople if we could just see how the lacing of the skates would go (I didn't want to pay $25 for the both of us to go if it was going to be a false start with a tantrum). The guys were nice once we agreed to boo the U of M Wolverines (they were of a rival Big 10 team which they brought up because of our winter gear). My son was so excited and sat patiently for his laces to be tied. He was ready to go. He even tolerated getting a helmet on his head. I laced up and asked my husband if he could hold him a little longer so I could circle around once and get my "ice-feet" ready. My husband agreed that he would take the pictures because I wouldn't be able to make it across the ice with two beginners.
My son was ready to go. I tried skating backwards and having him go towards me, but we ended up with me holding him around the waist. I could tell he liked speed and the feeling of gliding. He could have gone around that rink a hundred times. My back couldn't, and his mittens kept slipping in the cold, so we had to limit his rink time, but I think it was a blast for him.
I had been worried that he would be afraid, tentative and have the fear of falling that his Dad had. There's something about a toddler. It's either their total naivete or their total trust in their parents that makes their response to situations so different from ours. It's also a reminder for me, spiritually. If I could have half of the trust, enthusiasm and perseverance of a toddler in my faith life, just how far could I glide?