A few years ago Hubby and I decided to start taking each of our kids out on dates for one-on-one time. Originally the idea was that Thursday was Kid Date Night; I’d take one and he’d take the other. But then Baby Chickadee came and there wasn’t a whole lot of one-on-one time for the big kid who was with Mama AND a teeny Baby Chickadee on his or her date, so then Kid Date Night turned into Daddy takes one big kid one week, then the other the next week, then I take one big kid one week, then the other.
But between sports schedules and holy cow spending lots of money on a fun date once a week, Kid Date Nights have slowed considerably. Little Missy and I last went out together in April before our Kid Date Night of last Friday. It had been a while.
Little Missy knew for weeks in the build-up to Kid Date Night what we were going to do: roller skating. So last Friday we left as early as possible after school in order to get dinner out of the way so that we could be inside right when the rink opened. And we made it maybe two minutes after they unlocked the doors, with less than five people on the floor.
This was her third time skating--the first on her Birthday Extravaganza Day with my sister and brother-in-law, the second with our family--so she’s somewhat steady on her skates. But even so, she’s cautious. Our routine for the first half of our time there was to make two laps around the floor as she gripped my hand, then we’d watch the other skaters for a couple of minutes, then she’d skate up and around the snack bar for practice, then back on the floor for two laps with me.
What I love about my kid is that if she’s decided she’s going to do something, then she is going to do it. The first time she went skating with my sister for Birthday Extravaganza Day, Little Missy made them roller skate for three hours, because she was going to learn to roller skate, by golly. Little Missy does not sit on the side and lament the fact that she cannot skate; no, she gets in there and figures out how to do it. So as we held hands and skated around the rink I loved looking at her sweet little face with her mouth set in determination mode.
After maybe an hour and a half the rink had filled up with the kids who spend lots of time there flirting and skating way too fast, as well as the one older guy who talks to no one but shows off by skating backwards. Time keeps giving us a new one of him, you’ll be happy to know. Little Missy barely noticed the others that I was enjoying people watching, but was only too proud to keep going around and around and around the floor on her own. And when they played a game of dodge ball and I thought it best we stay on the side, she’s the one who bravely pulled us out there. She got it. The kid set her mind to learning how to skate and she got it. Even flying objects being aimed at her couldn’t deter her from getting out there and skating.
Page 2 of 2 - I think skating is our thing now, because G wants to roller skate for his Kid Date Night, too. So I’ll be at the rink more times in one month than I’ve been in fifteen years. But I promise to never be that older guy who talks to no one but skates backwards to show off to all the preteens.
Erin Fox is a busy wife and mother of three. She is a weekly columnist for the Augusta Gazette .