Thursday, February 24, 2011

Learning to Skate on Thick Ice

GoofGirl went to an ice skating party over the weekend. It was her first time and I was worried. I knew she wanted to learn to skate, but she was also scared about it because she knows that learning involves lots of falling down. I was also worried because she gets frustrated easily and unfortunately, I cannot skate and thus cannot teach her. The hosting parents did a good job trying to teach her, but they had their own children to watch. After innumerable falls she was in tears. I tried to console her, pointing out that her friends who had skated a few times before could only hold on to the edge and walk-skate around the rink. This didn't help.

I know my daughter, and she inherited an unfortunate quality from yours truly - a quick frustration with steep learning curves. I hated to see her give up on something so soon. I even offered to put on a pair of skates and go out with her myself (hoping, vainly, that the shared experience of falling down with dad might make it better.)

Then an angel appeared. A little girl, the same height as GoofGirl but four years older (my daughter is really tall) skated up, took GoofGirl by the hand and taught her how to skate. She taught GoofGirl how to fall and get up (a major accomplishment on slippery ice.) She told GoofGirl stories about her own experiences learning to skate and falling all the time. She made many, many, many circuits around the rink with my daughter (I did too, but on the outside.)

I thanked this angel profusely. She was there with friends but chose to teach my daughter. I even offered her a modest gift. She waved away my bills, saying, with surprising maturity, "I appreciate the gesture, but no thank you."

Soon GoofGirl was making circuits around the rink on her own. She fell down some, but got back up. She only held onto the wall briefly. She took a break for the birthday cake with tremendous reluctance. As she sat with her friends eating, she kept saying to me, "I just want to go back out and skate!"

And she did, around and around. Faster and stronger each time. Rather then try to follow her on the outside, I stood in a few spots to video and photograph this magic moment (and text it on to MotherGoof!) The angel skated by, waved to me, and pointed proudly to her student on the other side of the rink. I smiled and gave a big thumbs up.

My daughter has a new hobby, an expensive and inconvenient hobby.

But I couldn't be happier or more proud.

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