“You excited?” I asked her. She was sitting on our bed, pulling on a pair of bright pink pants, surrounded by long sleeved shirts and sweaters.
“Yes.” She responded. “But I’m a little nervous too.” Her eyes were bright and she was smiling. But I could see the nervous. I know that feeling.
“Know what?” I asked, kneeling in front of her, “I’m a little nervous too. But we can be nervous and do this together!”
She smiled. And I could tell that put her at ease.
Sometimes it’s good to know you aren’t alone with your feelings.
Two hours later we stood at the open gate as dozens of people moved around us. Some gliding, some falling, all of them trying. And she was having second thoughts. The balance of nervous and excitement clearly shifting.
“If you don’t like it, we don’t have to stay. But we have to give it a try and stay for just one song.”
She nodded. Her face serious. Her mouth pulled into a frown. But we moved forward to give it a try.
Sometimes we all just need to know that there is an exit plan. Even if we never use it.
We eased out onto the ice and I remember this feeling. These first steps always shaky. Always unnatural and uncomfortable. Like a fall could happen at any minute. And I’m not sure how to place my feet or move myself forward but standing still is not an option so we move.
And we moved. And we kept moving. Slowly. So slowly. And never more than a foot from the wall but not always holding on either.
Sometimes we all just need to know that the wall is there.
Every so often we looked up. Watched the more skilled skaters and their trickery. Saw the not so skilled skaters and their epic falls. But mostly, we focused and we skated. We couldn’t hear each other’s voices above the loud music and hum of fellow skaters so eventually we gave up trying. This was not the time for chatting. This was the time to hold on to each other and be together. Nervous together. Moving together. Skating together.
Sometimes we just need to be together and holding on.
We made five laps together and we didn’t want to leave. And we made plans to come back next weekend.
And I wish I had known this moment would happen. That through all of the trying and not trying, the crying and resisting, the fearing new experiences so fiercely that we worried she might never try to fly, that she was simply crafting her way. Defining her relationship with the new and the untried and the first times. I wish I had known that someday she’d step out onto the ice, squeezing my hand as hard as I squeezed hers. And that with her own quiet bravery, she’d skate.