A few days ago one of our new neighbors invited us to join them at the skating rink Friday. I thought it sounded fun, so I didn’t hesitate to say yes!
I didn’t even THINK about our last experience ice skating.
When I told the kids we were going skating, their faces went blank. Especially Phoebe.
I should have anticipated her response I guess, she DID have her finger cut off six months ago when she fell on the ice and my skate went over her finger. She DID endure a long surgery and weeks in the hospital as doctors worked to reattach her finger. Really, I can’t blame her for being nervous. But at the same time, in MY mind - they are two different activities. You can’t cut off fingers roller skating.
I reassured them all it’s different, no one will be hurt, it’s going to be okay. But I could see by the expression on Phoebe’s face as she asked me questions and held her hand in protection against her body that she was VERY UNSURE.
But still, I thought, she will be FINE. I figured once we got to the rink and she could see for herself how roller-skates differ from ice-skates, and she was surrounded with new friends - I figured she would be juuuuuuust FINE.
Boy oh boy, did I ever HIGHLY underestimate how much fear these kids had about skating.
It started with two of the three CRYING on the sidelines, refusing to go out on the rink.
Even with a balance bar to hold onto, Phoebe was REFUSING to skate.
Gosh, I didn’t know what to do. So many thoughts running through my mind…..
“Why didn’t I bring Jayson? He would know what to do. What was I thinking bringing them skating, by myself, six months after Phoebe’s accident?? What do I do? Well I can’t let FEAR take over and rule their actions. If I don’t FORCE these kids to skate NOW, I doubt they will EVER skate. The fear will probably CONSUME them and only grow if I give power to it now. But if I force them will it traumatize them MORE? What should I do? WHAT should I do?????”
A silent prayer. A silent answer. I felt the right thing to do was force my girls out on the skating rink. It didn’t take Andi long to feel comfortable skating. However Phoebe was hunched over on the rolling balance bar, flopping all over the place, clearly not trusting her feet to stay under her. She was crying … so much fear, so much anxiety.
I tried bribing her with a toy if she would just skate and stop crying. I tried forcing her to repeat positive affirmations. I tried supporting her body/holding her up in every way possible so she could see she CAN skate. NOTHING, was working.
I sat on the bench with Phoebe. Mack & Andi were FINE, happily skating round and round. But my naturally spunky little girl was silently laying on my lap… stone face, visibly shrinking from crushed confidence. Fear had won.
There we sat, just talking with our new friends. And then I noticed something - one of the little girls had those plastic fisher price skates. I asked her mom about them, and LOW and BEHOLD, the rink had them available to rent.
We GOTTA keep trying, I thought.
I locked those plastic fisher price skates so they didn’t roll, showed Phoebe how she could basically walk with these different skates, and………
she did it.
SHE DID IT!!!!
As fate would have it, the moment Phoebe re-entered the rink a new song blared over the speakers. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I choked back the tears, and with my hand shaking, pulled out my phone to capture Phoebe skating so SHE COULD REMEMBER the day she looked fear in the face and CONQUERED IT.