Last Saturday, my kids were invited to their cousin’s birthday party at a roller skating rink. We were all excited since they have never been skating before. Once I stopped to think about it, I don’t know why I have never taken them, I just haven’t. I have fun memories of skating in our small town rinks, and while I would never say I was awesome at it, in time, I could glide quite well before falling down.
I love my kids dearly, but I had no idea what to expect with this experience. Would they fall and then never want to do it again? Would they love it? Would they be naturals despite the fact they are both uncoordinated? (It’s my fault, I admit.)
After they had their skates on, they were ready to jump into the rink, holding my hand, of course. Part of me, wanted to say, “Just go skate. You will fall down, get up and do it.” I can be tough sometimes. However, the Mom in me that never wants my kids to feel alone, went out on the floor with them.
We started out as a team. One kid on each arm, clinging to me desperately. My arms hurt from holding the 100 pounds of kids up. In the beginning I would catch them before they fell. I didn’t want them to get hurt. That was the beginning.
However, after the first half of the first time around, I could see that preventing them from falling would seal my fate as walking around this rink the WHOLE time we were there. So, when I saw them getting ready to fall, I looked away, and let them go. However, I was there to help them back up.
Once my son figured out how to get up on his own a few times, he left my daughter and me to slowly skate against the wall. He could see that all of the fun was in the middle of the floor and he wanted to be a part of it. So, I ignored the other kids whizzing past him, and let him go. Ana and I stayed against the wall for awhile, moving around the rink inch by inch. She was having a ball!
After our third time around, Ana looked at me and said, “I am good at this. You stay behind the wall, I am going alone.”
When she said this, I immediately let her go. Yes, she fell, yes she sat in the middle of the floor alone, but she also picked herself back up, and tried some more. By the end of the two hours, the kids were skating independently, playing the skating the games, and feeling like pros.
Ana exclaimed, “I am really good at this!”
This whole experience sums up my mothering style: I want to be there for my kids when they need me. Not always catch them when they fall, but be there to help them back up again. Most importantly, I want to let them go to learn on their own when they are ready to fly.