In my head I pictured the three children holding hands as they skated around the ice-skating rink while Christmas music played in the background. Their cheeks would be rosy because of the chilly air and the sheer exhilaration of the skating, then we would sit around in the warming hut laughing while sipping our hot chocolate and marshmallows. It was a scene straight out of Currier and Ives. I couldn’t wait.
Yet I was forgetting two very important details. 1. I was seven months pregnant, therefore couldn’t get out on the ice to help my husband. 2. None of our three children had ever seen an ice-skating rink, let alone put on a pair of skates. (oh – and that our middle child has an extreme aversion to cold and falling down).
After our gingerbread house making fiasco; taking kids to look at Christmas lights only to have them fall asleep in the car and miss them all; going to pick out our Christmas tree during a thunderstorm only to have it die two weeks later; taking our daughter to the ER on Christmas Day because of a sledding accident; to having our youngest scream and run in terror from Santa Claus (think Christmas Story), you would think I would know better by now. Yet I couldn’t seem to get the delusions of creating perfect Christmas memories out of my head.
So we set out on our adventure in spite of my husband’s reluctance (let’s just call him a realist). Let’s also just say it was a tad beyond chilly – it was bone chilling cold outside. But I had bundled all the children in a million layers (again, think Christmas Story) to where our youngest could hardly move. Then came the skate fitting, which you would think would be a relatively easy process.
Fooled again. After each child tried on at least three pair of skates, our fingers were frozen trying to tie the blessed shoes, our daughter was near tears and our two boys were bored and starting to throw ice at each other. My husband had already lost his patience and was in a FOUL mood (sorry honey, but you know it is true) before we even made it to the ice.
Just getting the three kids on the rink was a Herculean task in itself. As soon as the boys stood up in their skates, they immediately toppled over onto each other. Our daughter wasn’t much better as they tripped and fell all the way to the rink. Mind you, we aren’t even on the ice yet.
As soon as our middle child’s skates TOUCHED the ice, his legs flew out from under him and he fell face first only to scream bloody murder. We were not off to a good start. My husband was trying to navigate three sprawling and uncoordinated children to hang on to the wall, but instead they were all three clinging to him for dear life. All I could do is sit on the sidelines and pray that we would not end up in the ER again.
After only 10 minutes (which seemed MUCH longer when you are watching from the sidelines) and about 30 falls and only one time around the rink, they were beyond finished. My husband was holding our youngest in front of him (with his skates three feet in front of his torso), our middle child was holding onto the back of Shane’s pants and the oldest was clinging onto his elbow. It was quite a sight, and if Shane hadn’t been GLARING at me, I would have burst out laughing, but I knew better.
We finally got the kids off the ice and into the warming hut. Three sullen kids sat around the table staring blankly at each other while Shane stood in the eternal line to get hot chocolate. The hot chocolate was scalding and way too hot to drink (and there were no marshmallows). Shane hobbled over to the table (his back was out for three days and he could hardly walk), where he scooped up the three weary shell shocked kids and headed to the car.
Once again, my delusions were crushed. Maybe next year I’ll know better. Then again, maybe not.