Sometimes I worry about my sweet girl making in this sometimes-cruel world. Like, am I doing enough to teach her to handle all the things that life may throw at her? Is this world going to swallow her up?
Well, let me just tell all you parents out there, if you are having doubts about your child’s tenacity, take them skating. That’s exactly what we did last weekend, and my sweet Maylie did not disappoint.
You see, skating seems easy enough for me. I mean, as a kid, I frequented the same skating rink that I took my girls to. Not only that, but my friends and I would Rollerblade all over the neighborhood — knowing which neighbors loved having us turnaround in their driveways and which ones were off limits.
But my girls had only been skating one other time and that resulted in a sore wrist and, ultimately, an X-ray (thankfully, nothing was broken). So the thought of taking them back was pushed very far out of my head.
That is, until our church had a family skate night, and I figured it was probably time to try it again. My girls were a few years older now, and I did want them to share in something that I loved as a kid.
But I was worried. From the moment we laced up Maylie’s skates and she stood up and immediately hit the ground, I started thinking that maybe it was a mistake. But, she got right back up and proceeded to the practice rink.
Clutching the half wall in the smaller rink, she slowly put one foot in front of the other. Very tediously and with loads of concentration, she took one hand off the wall. Plop. Down she went.
But, she got right back up. I grabbed her hands and led her a little bit away from the wall — and by led her, I mean I practically dragged her full body weight. And even with me holding onto her, she went down again. And again, she got back up.
This went on for a good while. Up, then down. Back up again. Eventually, she made it from one side to the other and was ready to conquer the big floor.
Now, I was certain we were not ready for that, but who was I to hold her back? Slowly, we made our way onto rink. She was down within seconds. Probably three falls through the straightaway before we managed to hit the curve where she could use the wall to help guide her.
That first lap took a good 10 minutes to accomplish and no less than 10 falls. But, she got back each and every time. Lap two started about a foot off the wall, but with enough faith that it was there if she needed it. This time, she used it less and less and fell a few less times as well. And she knocked out lap two.
As the laps continued, so did her falls. And there were a few scary looking ones as well as some that only hurt her pride. Every once in a while she would just sit there for a second sprawled out on the skate floor giving herself a pep talk, then she got back up and tried again.
Slowly but surely, the falls were fewer and farther between. It was almost like suddenly, she was doing lap after lap in between falls. And by the time we were getting ready to leave, she begged for one more lap at least six6times.
And I kept giving in. Honestly, it was so fulfilling as a Mama to watch. Because I know that life comes with so many falls — sometimes self-inflicted and sometimes out of our control. But, I watched as my baby made adjustments — leaned a little bit more forward, kept her feet closer together, stayed out of other people’s way — to fall one less time.
But even if she did fall — every single time she fell — she got back up. And overcoming that, showed me that my sweet little girl is on the right track to handle whatever life throws at her.
It won’t always be easy. Sometimes, she will have to really work at it. But she will. Because nothing beats that feeling of hard work, grit, figuring it out and floating fall-free all around the skate floor.
And just like that I had a little less fear in my heart about life knocking my baby girl down. Sure, it’s going to happen, and I will always be there to help guide her, cheer for her and help her back up. But I’m pretty confident in her skills to overcome whatever comes her way.
After all, she made it pretty darn clear that her get-back-up game is strong.
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.