04 March 2014

Grit

I was a roller skating fiend when I was a kid. Skateland in Kanawha City was my favored hang out. They had a beautiful, large wooden rink with handrails around one side. The rental skates had just the right amount of stinky-foot aroma and Queen's Another One Bites The Dust along with The Village People's YMCA were on constant rotation. During the halfway mark of my almost-weekly visits, I would hit the concession stand for a Whatchamacallit candy bar and an Around-the-World drink (made especially tasty because of the grape soda). I would skate forwards, backwards, shoot the duck, fall, spin, everything. I loved it.

When my kids were invited to their first roller skating party, I was all over it. I lugged my white 1970s ice skates/turned roller skates out of the bottom of the closet. They're scuffed and old, but they have purple wheels, white stoppers, and sparkly purple laces. I showed up, got the kids in their skates, and was ready to follow them around, picking them up off the floor, and helping them learn how to skate.

But wait, what's this? Walkers?!? WHA? Supposedly, the new thing, are these PVC pipe-walker-looking things. They're on wheels and the kids hold onto them and skate around. When you watch little kids skate in the 21st century, the rink looks full of a bunch of 4-foot-tall senior citizens. On wheels. SCARY! So, OK. Here are your skate-walkers. And... GO! My three sped around the rink, having fun, but not really learning how to balance on their own. J-man just runs on his stoppers while Bubba and Miss-Miss are legs-akimbo, constant motion from the waist-down. I put on my own skates (the only adult to do so - sad) and zipped around, re-gaining my skate legs.

We've done this several times, during summer break and for different birthday parties, all with the same results. The kids use the skate-walkers, zip around, and I follow.

Until this past Saturday. I did the usual skate/walker rental, put on my own skates, and followed. It was chaos. There were about five different birthday parties happening and kids were everywhere (as were the spectator adults). My daughter walked onto the carpeted area, left her skate-walker near our table, got a drink of water, went back, and her skate-walker was gone.

My three kids are all very different. When J-Man has hurt some part of his body or his feelings get hurt, you know it. Instantly. He wails as if he's been run over. Every time. Bubba will cry if his feelings get hurt or if he hurts a part of his body badly. So, he doesn't cry as often, but he will still wail.

Miss-Miss on the other hand, doesn't cry all that much. She's a bit more stoic. Is it the oldest child thing? Or the only daughter thing? Or chromosomal? I don't know. But even when she's really hurt (physically or emotionally) she keeps that stiff upper lip and loudly proclaims, "I'm OK, Mama! I'm not hurt! I'm fine!"

When she discovered her skate walker was missing, she slid/stumbled over to me and said, "It's OK, Mama. I'll just skate without one."

And she did. She fell, slid, stumbled, wobbled, all of it. She would hold my hand for a few minutes and then say, "I'm OK, Mama. I can do this." And she did.

J-man lost his skate walker and cried and demanded a new one. Bubba refused to let his go. Meanwhile Miss-Miss was balancing and learning and adapting.

It's just a little thing, just roller skating, but I can already see the future. I can see a smart, independent, thoughtful young woman, full of grit, doing whatever she needs to do to, even if it means falling and failing, to get where she wants to be.

7 comments:

Megan said...

I think it's a female thing. We always find a way. Good for her.

PS - She's got a great role model.

sybil law said...

It's the CMG gumption in her. Love it.

Dave2 said...

I love it when somebody can work the word "akimbo" into a sentence.

Coffeypot said...

I could use one of those walkers now. I could skate, roller blade and even jog with one. Where can I get one for a 6'4" OLD man?

hello haha narf said...

i had another comment completely in mind until i got to the last sentence. and then my eyes got leaky. and i got so crazy proud of miss-miss. and the really great mama that you are.
love to you both.

Muskrat said...

I think I would freak out at the sight of baby walkers on a roller rink.

Sheryl said...

I have a picture of my little guy with one of those goofy walkers...probably with you guys!
Your daughter is going to be so prepared for life when she's older: Beautiful, smart, and knows how to handle herself around boys. Good combination.