My daughter Lainey is four years old and I love her. On Friday afternoons she takes ice-skating at in Arlington. Four teachers from the Bay State Skating School divide a dozen or so kids into groups according to skill level. One child even garnered one-on-one attention since he was awesome. Lainey, meanwhile, remained in the slow class.
“I thought you said she was good,” my wife whispered, having missed work to attend a class.
It was tough to admit that Lainey sucked at something. But it’s hard to improve without practice, and 25 minutes a week was nothing.
So I did something I never done before. I strapped on a pair of cold, uncomfortable ice skates and got ready to hit the ice. Lainey was psyched.
“Don’t worry, Dad,” she said. “I can teach you!”
The temperature was 12 degrees, wind chill of negative five, but we had to practice.
“It’ll be warmer at the park,” I lied.
We drove to , parked the car and walked up the snowy path. We were alone. Lainey sat on a boulder. I put on her skates and removed my boots.
“It’s too cold, Dad! Let’s go home.”
“I don’t even have my skates on yet!” I yelled over the howling wind.
A rink-sized portion of the frozen pond was shoveled clear and shimmered in the sun. I timidly set one foot down as Lainey fell. Carefully I tottered over, pulled her up and tried to take a couple more steps. Lainey cried and fell again, shivering. Her cheeks were red and shined with tears. Enough. I threw on my boots, scooped her up and left.
That was our only skating attempt. Now it’s too warm to skate outside and I’m too embarrassed to skate at the rink.
I worried how Lainey would ever improve and then Carl entered the room.
Carl was the fastest runner in Lainey’s class. The four-year-old could throw a wiffle ball in the air, watch it fall and then absolutely cream it with his bat.
Lainey shrugged one shoulder and batted her eyelashes, “Hi Carl.”
They skated onto the rink and she reached for his hand. Keeping up with Carl was just the incentive Lainey needed. She tried harder than ever and had fun.
“Carl treats me perfectly,” Lainey cooed afterwards. I smiled and wondered about selling my skates on Craigslist.