Can I tell you how much fun it was to kick off my Resolutions Project with ice-skating? I had decided to steal Alyce away for a surprise date this past weekend, just the two of us, and I wanted to make it a surprise.
I kept my secret for an entire two hours.
When I spilled the beans her face almost broke in half on account of her excitement and she asked a zillion questions, including, but not limited to: could she wear ice-skates? (Yes.) Will I skate with her? (I'll do my best.) What happens if I fall down? (You get back up.) Could her skates be pink? (We can only hope.) The next day we headed to Dufferin Grove Park, one of my new favourite Toronto destinations. There we found free outdoor skating, $2 skate rentals, and hot chocolate for fifty cents. Fifty cents? I know. (They also host an organic farmer's market each week, so I'm thinking of moving in.) If you're looking for other City of Toronto outdoor rinks (some with skate rentals), you can find a list here.
Alyce was glorious. And her skates were pink. Don't let that sad face above fool you. She was just exasperated because she had to wait around until I got my skates on, clearly a tragedy. But then she looked like this:
Alyce had never been on skates before, and had certainly never experienced a Canadian outdoor rink. There were hockey players next to us, a figure skater practicing with her coach, and a collection of happy-faced novices with rosy cheeks and laced up skates. Taking Alyce skating for the first time was one of those parenting moments you remind yourself about when you're having a particularly rough day. It was golden. A perfectionist already, I was a little worried she might be too hard on herself, something akin to the struggle she feels when her drawings don't look "right." (Nothing makes me sadder than Alyce tearing up because she thinks her unicorn picture looks stupid. It is always a spectacular unicorn.) I prepared myself for mixed feelings from her, a combination of too much excitement and disappointment with not immediately skating like an Olympic athlete. I would have understood both reactions.
Alyce took to the ice holding one of those magical walker-type skating aids. Since I had only been on skates one time in the past twenty years, I could have used one myself. Thankfully for everyone around us I had enough nostalgia-fueled skill to skate enough that I could keep up her my five year old. Alyce never looked back, except to declare to me how much fun she was having. We skated for about an hour and she fell about every 90 seconds for the first half of that. But eventually she found her pace, even managing to tackle what she called "Figure Eights" (what you and I would probably call a circle), all while holding on to her walker. She tried to skate without the walker a few times, but quickly returned to the walker without shame. Skating with Alyce was joyful, even if my feet hurt because I don't actually know how to lace up a pair of figure skates.
One down, ninety-nine to go. It was a great place to start.
Have you written a list yet? Will you share it with us?