I have always loved ice skating--in theory. I thought it would be fun to be an ice skater. I just wasn't an ice skater. I love artwork featuring ice skaters. We have a print of this lovely Gilbert Stuart painting in our family room.
Meg and Clare took ice skating lessons a few years ago, but Anne was still a toddler. I watched their lessons from the sidelines while holding Anne. It was always too difficult to get back to the rink to practice and soon a series of illnesses brought the lessons to an end.
Recently Anne mentioned she would like to go ice skating. I wasn't confident enough to take the girls on my own. It had been twenty years since I last tried ice skating and I wasn't good then. How could I ever support three kids on the ice?
Then, to my surprise, our scouting troop announced an ice skating trip to the rink at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden. It is a beautiful spot and I knew the girls would want to go. I was still nervous, but I hoped that in a group setting we could make it work. I signed the girls up and, very hesitantly, I signed myself up to skate.
We went to the outdoor rink on Saturday morning after walking through the Berruguete exhibit at the National Gallery. I also snuck my girls over to the Whistler galleries because we recently talked about Whistler's The White Girl and I had mentioned I wanted them to see it at the NGA. The size of the painting is breathtakingly huge. Interestingly, we could stand in a doorway and see The White Girl and turn around in the same spot and see the above painting by Gilbert Stuart several rooms away. The Stuart painting is also strikingly large.
Finally, we made it to the rink and put on our skates. Each of the girls needed to exchange their skates for a larger size, but we were finally ready. Anne joined a group of beginners for a short lesson. I watched Meg and Clare nervously. I didn't know how much they remembered from their classes. Meg had some problems at first, but that was mostly due to my poor lacing abilities. A rink guard re-tied her skates and she was feeling much more secure. Clare took off like she had never been off the ice.
I stayed near the railing until I felt secure on my skates. It didn't take Anne long to decide to drop out of her class and join the family. Anne and I skated slowly, but consistently around the outside edge of the rink. Clare would whiz by us periodically. Meg and I would commiserate about how tired our ankles and calves were getting. But we kept going. We laughed and enjoyed the beautiful day.
While at the rink, we learned from another homeschool mom about a special rate for public skates at a local indoor rink. All three girls immediately asked to go so they could keep working on their skating skills. Nobody aspires to be the next Michelle Kwan. We all just want to work at staying securely on our feet. So I think this ice skating thing is going to become a regular outing for our family.