On the Sidelines

by Abby on January 20, 2014

boys wearing ice skatesIt was the second week of Christmas vacation and we were grasping at straws. We’d been sledding (outdoors) and swimming (indoors). We’d been to the bouncy-house place and the holiday train garden. We’d played with every toy Santa and our very generous relatives had left under the tree. But we hadn’t gone ice skating yet.

I grew up taking figure skating lessons at a local rink. My husband grew up playing hockey on frozen ponds. How could it BE that neither of our children had yet encountered a pair of skates or that magical machine known as the Zamboni? C. was sure they would love it. I was less sure.

But off we set for the open skating session at the local rink. We weren’t the only ones. Not by far. The parking lot was packed, the line out the door. So we waited. And waited. And waited some more. The boys were excited. It was Dad’s idea and they love everything having to do with Dad. Finally, we made it to the front of the line and saw those dreaded two words: “Cash only.” With only $20 on us, only 3 of us could skate. Guess who sat out?

I had one of those moments mothers aren’t supposed to admit to. Feeling sorry for myself: Why do *I* always have to be the martyr? Feeling pissed at my husband: Why can’t HE check the web site or make the phone call for once? Feeling annoyed by the crowd, the noise, the nonstop family time that, frankly, was getting on my nerves. I should’ve stayed home and read a book.

Sweating and grunting, I wedged the battered rental skates onto my 4yo’s feet while trying not to take a blade to the face. I looked up at him. “There. How’s that feel?”

He blinked back at me with those big brown eyes. “Good. I wish you could skate with us too, Mommy. Maybe next time?”

“Yeah, maybe next time. Now get out there and have fun!”

What followed can only be described as comical. The Three Stooges on Ice. They slipped, slid, and fell with a dramatic splat. Then they got up again. And fell down again. The crowd swirled around them – teens in tight jeans and no coats, little kids with colorful hats and splayed legs, overweight adults lurching dangerously around the perimeter.

My 4yo was delighted, my 7yo determined. My husband, well… let’s just say things had changed in the past 20 years since he’d last been on skates. He got a good workout, at least. Keeping 2 flailing kids and yourself upright on the ice uses some serious core muscles, I’d imagine.

As for me, I stood outside the rink filming this spectacle. Maybe I didn’t get the short end of the stick after all. Even though I could’ve used a hot beverage, I used our last $2 to buy the kids chips. I figured they earned them.

Mothers putting their families first comes with the territory, I know that. And mostly, I’m happy to do it. Does this go unnoticed? Unappreciated? Probably. But there will be other times. Times when I’m not sitting on the sidelines, but am right in there with the rest of my family. The Four Stooges.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Lou Mello January 20, 2014 at 9:04 am

At least you have the documentary, it will be a source of great amusement to show your future teenagers’ girl friends as needed.


Abby January 24, 2014 at 4:32 pm

Or to use as blackmail against my husband. The next time he annoys me, I’m threatening to send that baby off to America’s Funniest Videos!


Angie Mizzell January 21, 2014 at 4:05 pm

See– I’d make my husband sit out. Or, I’d relish the chance to be lazy. I like the sidelines sometimes. I would have definitely said, “oops, we’re all out cash guys”, as I took a swig of my coffee. I am not scared to get my way when I need to stay sane. 🙂


Abby January 24, 2014 at 4:31 pm

One of my 2014 resolutions: Be less of a martyr.


Kathleen Basi January 22, 2014 at 4:04 pm

Boo! I am all sympathy. I hope you had something to work on while you had to wait!


Abby January 24, 2014 at 4:31 pm

Thanks, I was looking for some sympathy. 🙂


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