It's been so long since I've stepped foot into a roller rink the effect hit me like a wall as we walked in. The boys and I decided roller skating was a good idea this afternoon. Armed with BG's rollerblades and LG's rollerskates from Santa, we headed into the rink. The nostalgia from the '80's washed over me like a bad paint job, disco balls, and Barbie Girl. Okay I know that was the '90's, but still. You could see the glitter of the place, the glamour of it's first days in the shiny blue tile in the bathroom, now chipped in some places, a few missing around the toilet basins, the huge rink and the dj's booth set up next to it, the many well used roller skates sitting behind a once bustling counter. The place was empty when we arrived, but by the next half hour people started to come in waves - mostly with their own skates. A few families with little ones trying out skating for the first time. BG took off with his in-line skates and only came back to surprise me or to tell me that everybody was falling except for him.
LG bravely put on his roller skates but burst into "I don't WANNA do this!" with loud sobs interspersed when we stepped on to the rink, so we were content to go outside the edge of the skating rink. He did extremely well but made sure to insist he could only walk not skate. Another woman there with her two little girls had the same problem. The older one took off and the little one lasted two minutes on the rink and with a very sad face sat on her Mommy's lap as her Mommy took off her roller skates.
There was a girl across the way as LG and I sat down to watch BG, tuckered out after our walk. She was so determined with her small pink purse hanging off her shoulder. She looked like she was doing the Robot and falling every two seconds. Somehow she determined to make it halfway around the rink before a friend took her hand and helped her off the rink. A feeling of her spirit washed over me. To me that would've been humiliating and I would've ended up in a pile of tears or ripped off the darned skates and walked across the rink in socks. Somehow she kept going and didn't skip a beat, except the beat of her own drum, and it made me smile.
What made me smile even more was watching BG zoom across the rink, completely independent, proud of himself, and smiling from ear to ear. My heart smiled all the more as I walked up and down the side of the rink holding LG's hand loosely as he skated so he could find his balance while thinking of the metaphor that I can hold on loosely to their lives but they will take their own steps. Then as he took his own steps he asked me to hold on tighter, and I held more firm but not tight and thought of how sometimes it is like that as well. We can hold firmly but not too tight otherwise they will lose the precious gift of freedom.