Monday, October 11, 2010


My daughter had never been on skates and the last time I had been was about 20 years and 200 pounds ago.  We went to our local skating rink for a birthday party and my wife noticed they gave skating lessons for $6 per lesson on Saturday.  All she had to do was mention that out loud to get my daughter on board and the very next Saturday, we were at our first lesson.  She took 10 in all but after the first 4 she began getting bored and the arm pulling began.  I remember thinking that the only way I would get on skates was if she batted her eyes and the only way I would leave after would be in an ambulance.

Battling one of my (very intense) fears, I donned my first pair of roller-blades in years and stood up on the carpet with my daughter at my side. After a few minutes I started remarking how easy this was and how similar it was to riding a bike. The motions came back to me and the balance returned as if I hadn’t been on shoes without wheels.  Then my daughter took me to the actual skating floor and my confidence not only dwindled but did an entire reenactment of death worthy of a Shakespearean play.  I swear I must have hit it on floor greasing day because the moment the first skate hit the floor, my legs were strangely disconnected from one another.

Normally I LOVE laughing with my daughter but I have a feeling that is because normally we laugh WITH each other. This time though the pleasure was all hers as I basically entered a never-ending run to keep at least one foot between myself and the floor. She laughed pretty hard at the sight of her father stumbling around and clinging to stationary objects in a way I haven’t since college.  Her real joy came though after the longest song EVER finally ended and I tried to exit the floor. Somehow on the way down I caught her arm and we ended up in a pile of laughing and crying with me doing most of the latter.

Oddly, it only took that once for me to get the feeling of it and the next time I took the floor I looked remarkably better. Enough that my daughter actually got to skate a little instead of walking next to me waiting for me to hit the deck.  We skated about three or four songs that night before I decided it was time to stop. I could tell one more song would be the difference between having fun and calling in to work with sore muscles in the morning.

We had a great time and surely made lots of memories but more importantly, I think my daughter saw her “brave (in her eyes)” dad be truly scared of something and work through it.  Also, we found another dad and daughter activity to have some fun with. Since I got that first time behind me, we have been about 30 times with both of us getting better each time. We always request “thriller” and “ymca” because as I understand it, you are required by law to skate to those two songs and at least once a trip, my daughter gets to see me from a new angle.  That being from the top down as I lay laughing on the floor.

Dad and Daughter Activities: Skating

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