“I need a size 8 in women’s and a size 12, 1, and 3 in kids’,” I told the guy behind the counter. He handed me four pairs of roller skates and we headed to a nearby table to lace up. (In case you’re thinking I was crazy and went roller skating alone with three kids… don’t worry. I brought my best friend Blair along for the fun too!)
Before I could even get Max’s skates on, he was already whining… “I don’t want to skate. Can’t I just watch?”
“No,” I said. “We’re all going to skate… and we’re going to have fun doing it!”
We made our way to the rink and Ava took off solo. She absolutely loves roller skating and even though she falls down about a thousand times, she always has a smile on her face and gets right back up and tries again. I decided I’d take turns skating Max and Lia around the rink.
The first hour of open skating was practically a disaster. I skated with Lia and when she was getting the hang of it, she would say “this is so fun! I love you mommy!” And then she would fall and decide it was my fault. And she would scream, “I don’t like you! You made me fall! I hate roller skating!” We went back and forth like that for a solid hour.
And Max was no better. I skated with him and attempted time and time again to get him to understand that he needed to keep his center of balance directly above his skates. He fell a few times… pretty hard. The girls seem to have mastered the graceful slide-fall, but Max… well, he kinda just goes knees first. He fell a couple times and was crying (keep in mind he’s very sensitive!). He told me he was done skating and I told him he had to keep going.
“I don’t like roller skating! You’re mean!” he said. I just smiled at him and said, “You’re gonna keep skating. I know you can do this. Let’s have a snack and then we’ll skate some more.”
We had poor timing on the snack part, so we stood in line at the snack bar for awhile to get our treats. We squeezed into a tiny booth and the girls shoved nachos into their mouths as quickly as they possibly could. Max took his time eating his Kit Kat. We rarely eat junk food like that, but we were at a roller skating rink… what else are you gonna do? It turns out a crappy snack was all we needed!
After snack time, we had about 30 minutes of skating time left. I did a few laps with Ava and even one with Blair. She and I took turns taking Max and Lia around the rink and you’ll never believe it, but they finally started getting the hang of it! By the time they kicked us out, both girls were fussing about wanting to stay. And even Max admitted that he had a good time and wanted to go roller skating again. I asked him if he was happy that I made him keep trying and he said he was.
The truth is, about twenty minutes into our roller skating adventure, I started questioning whether I had made the right decision. I wondered if Max was right and I was being mean. I wondered if Lia would forgive me for all the times I clearly made her fall. I wondered if Ava would cry if I made her leave early. And isn’t it weird how parenting is like this so often? We go about our business, doing what we think is best for our kids, but then we start questioning ourselves. I knew that I should make them keep at it. And I’m glad I did… even though it was hard and messy and there were lots of tears, we came out on the other side stronger and better. And maybe, just maybe… our next roller skating adventure will be even better!
Have you experienced a situation like this recently with your kids? I’d love to hear about it! Leave me a comment and tell me all about it! P.S. I only took my iPhone in and I got exactly zero good photos… so, instead you get to see a few adorable videos of us roller skating… because selfie roller skating videos are super awesome.